The Hot Air Jubilee will be back in town from July 22-24, 2022, and Wonder and Wander – Jackson is here to share our tips and tricks for attending with children. The Hot Air Jubilee is one of our favorite events! There is nothing quite like watching the process of a balloon inflating and taking off! 

Experiencing this joy through the eyes of your child is a core memory maker. We have taken Big to this festival in some form since he was three and a half, and we have learned a lot along the way. So, our first round of tips is specifically for those attending with children three and under.  

Attending the Hot Air Jubilee with Young Children

Top tips for attending the Hot Air Jubilee with children three and under

Always start at the Hot Air Jubilee Facebook Page before heading out for a launch. 
The Festival Team does an amazing job of providing updates about the flights and posts all updates on the Hot Air Jubilee Facebook page. They will share all updates in real-time, such as postponements, cancellations, and my favorite words: THE LAUNCH IS A GO

I usually have the car packed and ready, and keep my eye on the Hot Air Jubilee Facebook page. If we see that the launch is a go, we head to Ella Sharp Park asap! If we see that the launch is canceled, we just stay home.

Bring a wagon/stroller to cart around the extra stuff
It can be a long walk from the parking areas to the launch field, and bringing along kids means lots of stuff. A wagon or stroller can help you transport everything, and can help you transport any tired kiddos back to the car when you are ready to head home. Be sure to bring along chairs and blankets to sit on, as the grass will be wet for morning launches, and you’ll want a place to sit and relax for evening launches.

Bring lots of snacks and water
Since hot air ballooning is unpredictable, this means there might also be delays and long waits. There will be many food trucks available on-site, but these won’t be open for morning launches, so it’s better to come prepared and keep the hangry away!

Morning launches are the way to go
Balloons either have to fly early in the morning or later in the day due to heat and winds. If your kids are like mine, they are probably wide-eyed and wide awake for the morning launches. Morning launch crowds are much smaller, you can park closer, and you have the benefit of slightly cooler temperatures. You won’t have all of the other festival amenities that you’ll have for evening launches, but the smaller crowds make it worth it. (Just be sure to check the Hot Air Jubilee Facebook page – morning flights may launch for other locations!)

Have realistic expectations
Attending anything with young kiddos in tow can be challenging, let alone attending a festival with flights dependent on multiple weather variables. At our recent Hot Air Balloon meet-up, some young kiddos were more interested in running around on the soccer field instead of sitting and watching the balloon! Just remember that young children have shorter attention spans and may be happier exploring and wandering versus sitting and waiting.

Child wears headphones while in a hot air balloon basket

Hot air balloon burners are loud
All hot air balloons have a burner – which is basically the engine of the hot air balloon. Burners are what you see sending flames up into the balloon, and they are quite loud (even when you are behind the field ropes). If your child is sensitive to loud sounds, you might want to bring some earplugs or headphones! 

Be sure to visit the Kids Kingdom 
The Kids Kingdom will be open both Friday and Saturday starting at 4 pm. This area is hosted by Rivertree Church, and they run the area quite efficiently. Many of the games are toddler-friendly, and everyone wins a prize! The Kids Kingdom area can get busy at peak times, but children can often play the games more than once. This is a sure way to have some fun!

The media flight is the best-kept secret
Sure we told you that morning flights are the best, but there is one other flight that is the best-kept secret. Each year, on the Thursday of the festival week, there is a media flight! This is when local pilots gather to fly members of the media to help promote the festival. If the media flight is a go, it will take off from Ella Sharp Park on Thursday evening. Stay tuned to the Wonder and Wander Instagram page for updates on timing!

The media flight is the perfect flight to bring the littles to. There are not a lot of spectators, the playground is less busy than during the full festival, and last year the media flight was the only flight to launch during the festival (and has traditionally had great weather for launches)!

The Hot Air Jubilee is taking place in Jackson, Michigan on July 22-24 at Ella Sharp Park. For more information on this festival, click here.

Hot Air Jubilee Schedule
Hot Air Jubilee Schedule

Looking for more tips? Check out our tips from last year here and here.

Attending the Hot Air Jubilee with Young Children

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