Hot air balloon festival returns to Fayetteville in August

Photo courtesy SOAR NWA

A hot air balloon festival that debuted in Fayetteville a few years ago is set to return this summer.

The third annual SOAR NWA festival is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 26-27 at Drake Field.

The event will include a variety of hot air balloon activities (weather permitting), a kids zone, beer garden, live music, exhibits and various aeronautics activities.

The festival began in 2019, but was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The event returned in 2021, and has now been expanded to a two-day festival.

Festivities kick off at 5 p.m. Friday, and include circus performers, tethered balloon rides, and a skydiving show. Gates open at 7 a.m. Saturday for more balloon rides, a pancake breakfast, a car exhibit, and various performances.

SOAR NWA is organized by local nonprofit Open Avenues, which offers employment, skill training and job placement services for adults with disabilities.

For a full schedule, visit