Photo by Rodney Margison

by Rodney Margison

Saturday, September 12, the Monroe County Fairgrounds will once again provide the setting for the Kiwanis Indiana Balloon Fest. This year’s festival will be a drive-through event to accommodate limits on gathering sizes and social distancing requirements due to the pandemic.

The eighth annual Balloon Fest is sponsored by Kiwanis Club of South Central Indiana. Admission to this year’s event will be free, but donations are encouraged. Proceeds cover the cost of the festival, as well as helping with several Kiwanis initiatives throughout the year including Boys & Girls Clubs, youth leadership programs, Little Free Libraries, and Riley Hospital for Children.

“Every single dollar counts, especially this year,” explains Amber Miller, associations and radiothon coordinator for Riley Children’s Foundation. “A majority of our fundraising events have been canceled … we really just appreciate the fact that Balloon Fest is still taking place and they’re putting their necks out for us and trying to support us any way they can.”

Balloon Fest will begin with a balloon launch at 7:30 a.m. and conclude with a balloon glow that evening and a fireworks show at 10 p.m. In between, attendees can purchase drive-through “fair food” from 11 a.m.–11 p.m. and participate in virtual events such as a scavenger hunt (with prizes), guest presentations via Zoom, puppet shows, a kite-making workshop, the announcement of the winner of Kiwanis Idol, and more.

Commercial vendors will also be available featuring online and drive-through transactions and purchase pickup. Visit the Balloon Fest event page on Facebook for more information and to view items available for sale.


In anticipation of the event, Kiwanis held a media event this morning with TJV Balloons of Bloomington. Low-altitude fog and a slightly higher-than-acceptable wind speed prevented the hot air balloons from lifting off as planned, but the pilots and crew did inflate three of them.

Bloom Managing Editor and photographer Rodney Margison was there and created this picture gallery from the media event: