The Taste N Glow Wausau Balloon Festival is one of the most anticipated events in Wisconsin every year, drawing crowds from all over the state and beyond to see 40 hot air balloons take to the sky in a spectacular display of color and light.
The 2023 edition of the festival marks their 3rd annual and promises to be even better than ever, with more balloons, more activities, and more fun for the whole family.
I’ve attended the world renowned festival in Albuquerque and I’ll tell you – this event gives you all the feels for a fraction of the effort and cost! Wausau is less than a 3 hour drive from Milwaukee making it an easy weekend getaway.
Here is everything you need to know about the Taste n Glow Balloon Festival.
This Year’s Wausau Balloon Festival
The Taste n Glow Balloon Festival will be held from12pm on July 7 – 11am on July 9, 2023, in Wausau, Wisconsin. Admission to the festival is expected to be $5 per person. Parking is free onsite, which makes it a very affordable event for families.
History of the Wausau Balloon Festival
The original version of the festival was founded by a group of local hot air balloon enthusiasts, who wanted to share their passion with the community. The event has grown in size and popularity officially becoming the Taste N Glow Festival in 2021, attracting thousands of visitors every year.
Wausau Balloon Festival Highlights
The Taste n Glow Balloon Festival is a three-day event, filled with activities for all ages. The main draw of the event is the spectacle of seeing dozens of colorful balloons take to the sky.
One portion of the Wausau Balloon Festival not to be missed is the balloon glow, which takes place each evening. During the balloon glow, the hot air balloons are inflated and lit up from the inside, creating a magical sight that is not to be missed. Visitors can wander among the balloons, taking photos and enjoying the spectacle.
The atmosphere at dusk seeing them fire up to the rhythm of the music is indescribably hair raising.
There are food and craft vendors, selling everything from funnel cakes to handmade jewelry. Visitors can enjoy live music and entertainment throughout the day and into the evening, with a different lineup of performers each day of the festival.
The full 2023 Schedule is available here.
Kid Friendly Fun at the Wausau Balloon Festival
This year promises to hold even more activities for families. Kids will marvel over the skills showcased at the Lumberjack Shows, Log Rolling Demonstrations, and Chain Saw Carving.
The bounce houses and inflatables will be back in 2023 as well as a Kid’s tent with crafts and coloring. This is a great spot to retreat to some shade!
My favorite of all though, is the balloon trading cards. Each balloon team carries trading cards featuring a picture of their balloon and some stats. It’s a great wait to get kids interacting with the enthusiastic balloon pilots and asking questions. They’ll love the mission and collecting cards for all their favorite shaped balloons. Yoda anyone?
Hot Air Balloon Rides
For many visitors, the hot air balloon rides are the main attraction of the Taste n Glow Balloon Festival. Full flights are not offered DURING the festival, but a couple balloons are setup for tethered rides.
This gives you a flavor of floating for a fraction of the cost, at only $15 per person (cash only at the event, no reservations). An adult must accompany any minors and waivers are required.
The line for the tethered rides gets quite lengthy (1 hour +) so make sure to go first thing on arrival!
Where to Find More Info
For more information about the Taste n Glow Balloon Festival, including a full schedule of events and information about balloon rides, visit the festival’s website. Attendees should also follow the festival on Facebook to stay up to date on the latest news and updates. The event his highly weather dependent so you’ll want to make sure you’re in the know in case of changes due to poor weather conditions.
Where to Stay for the Wausau Balloon Festival
You can stay in downtown Wausau or get a campsite at Marathon Park.
The Wausau Balloon Festival takes place just 15 minutes outside downtown Wausau.
Shuttle / Parking
There is a large parking lot onsite at the balloon festival with no charge for parking. This is a highly convenient option, but know that if you are staying past the balloon glow at dusk, the log gets very gridlocked and can take about 30 minutes to leave.
Address: 141678 Stettin Rd
Wausau, WI 54401
Stay tuned for Shuttle Information for 2023.
See you at the Wausau Balloon Festival!
The Taste n Glow Balloon Festival is an exciting and unforgettable event not to be missed.
With hot balloon rides, shows, games for kids, food and craft vendors, live music, and more, there is something for everyone at this annual event.
Mark your calendars for July 7-9, 2023, and meet us in Wausau, Wisconsin for the Taste n Glow Balloon Festival. There’s plenty more to do while you’re in the area! Check out our guide for family fun in Wausau.
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Catherine – Savvy Family Travel
My favorite pastime is finding fun, interesting experiences to share with family and friends.
I’m a mom of two energetic and curious boys who have endless patience with my tendency to over plan activities on our family vacations. My tireless husband, Troy, provides comic relief, is our favorite photographer, and expert navigator.
I’m a firm believer that travel with kids doesn’t have to be intimidating or expensive. It can be affordable, epic, and, dare I say, even relaxing!
Are you a travel loving parent too? I’d love to meet you, please reach out via Messenger and say “hi!”