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 second round of tips is specifically for those attending with children four and up.
Creative Ideas For Attending the Hot Air Jubilee with Older Children
The Pilot Meet-And-Greet is a MUST!
Do not miss the Pilot Meet-and-Greet on Saturday, July 23 from 4-5 pm at the Ella Sharp Launch Field! Just what happens during this part of the festival? Pilots park their vans in a line, showcase their baskets, and sign your free autograph book (look for volunteers handing these out in the front of the line!). Additionally, Pilots hand out their special Hot Air Jubilee trading cards! This is the perfect time to ask any questions you have about ballooning. Plus, it is the perfect chance to say “Thank you” to all of the pilots who come to the festival.
Break Out the Camera
Charge up that old point-and-shoot camera that has been collecting dust, and hand it over to your kiddo. Not only will you get to see the photos your child captures, but this will surely give them something to do during any long wait times! Additionally, you’ll have some special keepsake photos from the event.
Explore the Science Behind Hot Air Balloons
Why can’t the balloons fly in the middle of the day? What is the balloon envelope made out of? Why doesn’t the balloon catch on fire from the burner? What are the perfect conditions for a flight? Turn the Hot Air Jubilee into a learning experience, and spend some time with your older child learning the science behind the balloons. We found several resources by googling “Hot Air Balloon Science for Kids.” Additionally, we recommend checking out books about hot air balloons from the Jackson District Library!
Visit the Special Events at The Ella Sharp Museum
The Ella Sharp Museum is offering some special events during the Hot Air Jubilee. The museum’s events will be open on Friday and Saturday from 4-9 pm – and their activities include make-n-takes, virtual balloon rides at the Hurst Planetarium, and tours of Ella’s historic farmhouse. The cost is $5/person (museum members are free). Check out the details over here.
Join the Chase
Did you know each balloon pilot has its own crew? The crew assists with every aspect of a flight, from inflation to standing up, to take-off. But they don’t stop there! Next the crew then hops in the chase vehicle, tracks the balloon on the map, and helps the pilot secure a safe landing spot. Once the balloon lands, the crew jumps into action to keep it on the ground and to help with deflating and packing it away. While kids can’t join a crew for the festival, you can join the chase! Specifically, this is a way to see other parts of the balloon flight and to watch the landing process from a safe distance. (Just please be sure to keep a safe distance and not get in the way of the actual chase vehicle and crew!)
Attend the Media Flight and Morning Launches
Want to watch a flight without a huge crowd surrounding you? We certainly recommend the media flight (Thursday, July 21 at 7 pm), and the morning launches. The media flight and morning launch crowds are much smaller, you can park closer, and in the morning, you have the benefit of slightly cooler temperatures. Unfortunately, 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!)
As always, for anyone wanting to attend the Hot Air Jubilee, my number one tip is:
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.
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.