Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic 2016

*This post was originally posted on joliecious.blogspot.com*

Hey friends,
Last Sunday, my friends and I went to the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic. We had lots of fun and, today, I want to share with you my experience. If you are planning to attend the festival next year, I have some tips that I learnt from my trip for you. It’s kinda unfair that Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic received many bad reviews online. I know everyone has their own opinions but here is my defense for the event. Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic is definitely one of the events you should visit at least once. 

First off…let me share some tips that will help you enjoy the event more if you plan to visit!
1- Have an open mind
When I did my research about the event, I hesitated a little bit because it got many bad reviews. Most of the people who gave bad reviews complained that the event was disappointed, too crowded, not enough hot air balloons, etc. However, don’t let these reviews discourage you! Everybody has her/his own opinion; you really don’t know how it is until you see it for yourself. I decided to go with a bunch of my friends and do not regret. Hence, the ticket is only $7 per person if you pre-order online.  
2- Get there early for the dawn patrol

3 balloons participated in the dawn patrol. So colorful and bright. They looked like giant lanterns

Did I mention that the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic is held very early in the morning? The door opens at 4 AM and the event ends around 11 AM. Hold on…I know it sounds crazy! But it is explained that these giant balloons can only take off within a certain temperature. They can’t if the temperature gets too hot. With that being said, plan your drive ahead of time. You want to get there before 5 AM to find parking and witness the dawn patrol. ALERT: the dawn patrol is something you don’t want to miss. 
3- Take exit 499 off freeway 101 
When I read the reviews, a lot of people said traffic was terrible. I totally see why. My drive there was easy and smooth until we reached exit 498 which you would normally use to get to Keiser Park. The traffic was truly terrible because there were so many people wanted to attend the event. My boyfriend and I decided to exit at 499; a little bit longer (which I mean a few minutes more) but you could avoid the traffic. 

4- Park in the neighborhood
Keiser park has its own parking lot but the fee is $5 and the line to get in is extremely long. There are plenty of street parking…about 5 minutes walk to the park. We parked in the neighborhood on Oak Park street. It was literally right in front of the entrance: convenient and perfectly avoid the hassle. Look on your map and find neighborhood streets around Keiser park. Get there a little bit early and you will find yourself a good parking. 
5- Keep yourself warm and comfortable
Because the event is held very early, the weather could be too cold for some people. I recommend you dress in layers (that you can take off when the weather gets hotter) and bring blankets to cover yourself if it’s too cold. Also, bring a picnic mat or something to sit on. You can bring food and drink, too. Think of it as a picnic with your friends or family. Make yourself comfortable to enjoy seeing pretty giant balloon taking off to the sky. There are plenty of space to set up your little picnic.
Well guys….these are the tips I got for you. I hope these tips will help you prepare for next year if you plan to visit Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic. Now, let’s me give you some sneak peek of this year event!

Setting up for inflation
Me and my blanket 😀

 

The 2 most popular balloons this year: Master Yoda and Darth Vader
They received so much love from the audience.

 

 

 

Sonoma County Hot Air Ballon Classic is pretty interesting, isn’t it? Although I had to wake up so early, I did not regret. Seeing these hot air balloons in person was so fascinating. If you would like a short ride, you can pay $10 for one tethered ride. Paying only $7 for admission, you get what you pay for. There were around 30 hot air balloons this year and for $7 I paid, I had no complaint. It is an event that you should at least visit once
Hope you enjoy today post and thanks for reading ^^
Good luck,
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3 thoughts on “Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic 2016

  1. I love hot air balloons. We have attended several in Pennsylvania. Love all the new kinds you saw. I would love to go up in one some day.
    Thanks for the review,
    Bev

  2. This was my first time. It was fascinating to see the balloons up-close ^^ I would like to attend more in the future.

    Thanks for stopping by, lovely!

  3. Wow, this looks like so much fun. I've always wanted to ride a hot air balloon but seeing them up close is really nice too! I'm glad you had a good time there 🙂

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