Michigan Challenge Balloonfest – Know Before You Go!

June 14, 2019 | Story by: Amelia Ritter

The 35th Annual Michigan Challenge Balloonfest is coming up in just two short weeks! This Livingston County tradition brings with it magic in the air. Bring your whole family to experience the amazing Balloonfest energy that comes to the Howell community each June.

We spoke to event director, Michelle Tokan, about her favorite parts of the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest and here is what she had to say.

What makes the Balloonfest an event for the entire family?
Because we’re located on the grounds of Howell High School, attractions and activities are all family-friendly. Many have made the event a summertime family tradition and schedule graduation parties, family reunions, etc. around the event.

What is something that makes Balloonfest uniquely Howell?
The Michigan Challenge Balloonfest helped put Howell on the map 35 years ago and continues to help make Howell a travel destination. People come to the event and recognize Howell is a great place to live, do business and visit. They return to shop, dine and attend the many amazing events that happen in Howell including the Fantasy of Lights the day after Thanksgiving.

What is something that you can’t miss at Balloonfest?
The Saturday night balloon glow is a must-see for many of our guests. Oh, and the skydiving night show, fireworks, balloon launches, and fly-ins, entertainment, the family fun tent! Basically, you don’t want to miss anything at the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest.

What should a first-time visitor to Balloonfest know?
Prepare to spend the day at the event. Want to visit downtown? Get your hand stamped before you leave for re-entry the same day. Visitors should like the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest page on Facebook for updates on balloon launches and weather dependent activities. For all the event details, visit the event website.

What is your favorite memory from Balloonfest?
Every Balloonfest is a new adventure; but throughout the decades that I’ve been involved, what touches my heart most is the passion and leadership of the Michigan Challenge Committee. With that said, the sense of community and teamwork that the event teaches and demonstrates to those involved is priceless.

Be a part of the fun! Click here for information on volunteering at the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest.

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The Michigan Challenge Balloonfest is a great place to make lifelong memories. Here are some favorite Balloonfest moments from our Instagram followers.

“I was on the second floor when I heard the unmistakable ‘whoooosh’ of a hot air balloon. I ran to the front window and I [saw] it coming over the trees. Then I grabbed my mom to run outside just in time to watch it just kiss the roof of the other building with the basket before clearing it and landing at the top of our driveway.”
– Jenny (@jdietzel87)


The Balloonfest Committee and the pilots would like to thank the residents of Howell for opening up their yards and driveways for possible balloon landings! It makes for an exciting week in their neighborhoods!

“My favorite thing was the initial launch of the Balloonfest! My 3-year-old son, Jay, was dying of excitement. [2018 was] my first year attending the Balloonfest. If you haven’t seen the balloons get blown up before, it’s definitely a pretty cool thing to see, especially when multiple balloons are going up. I would say if you love indulging in some festival food and hanging out with your friends and family, the Balloonfest is definitely an event to attend!”
– Tricia (@tbell13)

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Sometimes you may even find a happily ever after at Balloonfest…

“Devin and I, together almost 8 years, planned on attending the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest on Sunday due to the rain the day before so that we could see the balloons and enjoy the weather of a relaxing weekend… We walked over underneath a tree away from the carnival and the crowd, where we had sat down earlier in the day. Devin told me that his shoe was untied, which I didn’t question until I realized that he didn’t have laces on his shoes. When I said something about it, he looked up at me with the biggest grin and a gorgeous ring in his hand and quietly said, “will you marry me?” He was really nervous… It was an amazing moment that I will remember for the rest of my life and I hope to revisit the event to forever relive the incredible moment!”- Amber (@ambernicole125)

Are you ready to make your own memories at the 35th Michigan Challenge Balloonfest? Remember to tag your photos with #LoveLivCo! You may end up in next year’s blog for Livingston County visitors guide. Enjoy Balloonfest!

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