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Northwest Arkansas is in for a real treat. Weather permitting. 🙂

A new hot air balloon festival is coming to Fayetteville, Saturday, August 24th from 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM  at Drake Air Field. The Inaugural SOAR NWA is a day-long event hosted by Open Avenues and will be held at Drake Air Field.

The magic and beauty of a balloon festival is something everyone should experience many times. From the early morning balloon flight to the balloon glow at night SOAR is an experience that will capture your heart. 

All of the proceeds from the events will benefit Open Avenues, an organization that provides life and job skills training, paid work opportunities, community employment, and transportation for people with disabilities living in Northwest Arkansas. 

You will notice throughout the article, you will see the phrase “weather permitting”.  Hot air balloons while beautiful and exciting are particular. They may only fly during certain weather conditions. Flights will most likely occur at sunrise or sunset, when the atmosphere temperatures are lower and wind speeds are the lightest. Typically, wind speeds over 8-10 MPH are considered too dangerous for balloon flight. Other weather conditions, such as thunderstorms, rain, or even fog that occur within 100 miles will also ground balloon flights for safety reasons. 

When is SOAR NWA?
August 24th, 2019

Who Needs A Ticket? –
Everyone needs a SOAR ticket except for children under one.

What is the Cost? – Admission to the event is $10 for adults and $5 for ages 10 & Under, and a $40 “family pack” is also available.  You can purchase tickets by visiting the Eventbrite page.

Where will SOAR NWA be held?
Drake Field Airport
4500 S School Ave Ste Fayetteville, Arkansas

What to Wear?  – Since you will be walking around, wear comfortable, casual clothing.


Bag Policy:
Clear bags – Ticket holders inside SOAR NWA may carry one clear bag 12”x 6”x 12” and either a small purse or clutch not to exceed 4.5”x 6.5” or wallet. NOTE: All bags, regardless of size, are subject to search.

Only small umbrella strollers are allowed

Are pets allowed to the event if they are leashed?
Unfortunately, pets are not allowed at SOAR NWA this year.

Not Allowed:

  • Chairs
  • Coolers
  • Briefcases
  • Backpacks
  • Mesh bag


How Do You Know if Balloons Will Fly?
SOAR is a rain or shine event, but unfortunately, balloons do not fly in bad weather. If event organizers receive information that inclement weather is on the way, the event will either be delayed or cancelled. Event organizers will use all available social media and email messages to keep you up-to-date. NOTE: Tickets are non-refundable.

Where Can You Park?
Main FREE Parking/FREE Shuttle:
Baum Stadium
1255 S Razorback Rd

FREE Parking/FREE Shuttle:
Razorback Iron Works, Arkansas National Guard or Standard Register.

Cash Only Paid Parking/Shuttle:
You can park at Arkansas Air Museum or Greenland School District (closer to the actual SOAR NWA events).

VIP Parking
Drake Field. (closest parking)

SOAR NWA 2019 Balloon Festival

Top 10 Things At The Inaugural SOAR NWA

Volunteer – GREAT idea! This is a fantastic and unforgettable way to be part of a fun event. In addition, you get free entry into the event all day and a cool volunteer shirt! This is a hands on way to experience the joy and camaraderie of what it means to be part of a hot air balloon festival. Participate once and you’ll be a regular year after year. Learn more here:

Balloons In Flight – The only time you can see the balloons in flight will be when the gates open at sunrise. Please note, the balloons in flight is completely dependent upon weather permitting. There will be traditional hot air balloons along with the fabulous Wells Fargo stagecoach balloon. The Wells Fargo balloon is one of the most popular and best loved shape balloons in the world.

Tethered Balloon Ride – Capture the feeling of actually being in a basket as it takes off. Tethered balloon rides will begin at 7:00 AM and continue as long as weather permits.Tethered rides are included with the price of admission. Rides are provided only at select times of the day. Great way to get your feet wet as a passenger in a hot air balloon.

Live Music – Local live music from some of the regions top talent. Kick back, relax and enjoy while you experience the unique fun the balloon festival provides.

Skydiving – Skydive Fayetteville will also be on hand offering an opportunity for thrill seekers to skydive at the event. There is a fee and space is limited. You must pre-register, the deadline is two days prior to the event. You can can find tickets here.

Kid Zone – This fun area includes 5 Inflatables, Face Painting/Mermaid & Escape Room Truck. Kiddos will love this exciting area created just for them.

Vendors and Food Trucks  – Enjoy an assortment of food and merchandise from all over the state including: The Galley, Wicked Woodfire Pizza, U Scream I Scream, R & B Snow Pit, Southern Sweet Gals, Hot Rods BBQ, Carsten, C and D, Smoking A’s BBQ, Downtown Dawgs, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Taqueria Leos. 

Helicopter Rides – $20 per rider. If you haven’t done it, now is your chance.

Beer Garden – Have a cold brew while you enjoy the festival. Photo ID required for beer garden. The SOAR NWA Beer Garden is CASH ONLY.

Balloon Glow – There is nothing quite like the glow of a hot air balloon as darkness approaches. Experience the wonder of seeing the fully lighted balloon against the backdrop of the dark night sky. It’s something you’ll truly never forget.

Schedule is tentative and subject to change! Please note that all hot air balloon activities are weather permitting before 10:00 AM and after 6:00 PM.


parking at SOAR


Soar NWA Festival Event Schedule

7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
        Gates Open
        Kid Zone opens
        Pancake breakfast begins at Air Museum (additional charge)
        Tethered balloon rides (weather permitting) begin

7:15 AM – Balloons in flight (weather permitting)

8:30 AM – 4:30 PM – Skydiving begins (pre-registration is required)

8:30 AM – 10:00 PM – Helicopter rides open

9:00 AM – Entertainment Stage Opens

10:00 AM – 10:00 PM  VIP Room 

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM – Car show begins

12:00 PM  – 10:00 PM – Beer garden 

6:00 PM – 6:30 PM – Skydiving Show from Skydive Fayetteville

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Tethered Rides (additional charge and Weather Permitting)

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Stilt walkers from Arkansas Circus Arts

6:45 PM – 8:00 PM – Balloon Pilot Meet and Greet 

8:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Balloon Glow (Weather Permitting) and Thank You from Mayor Lionel Jordan

9:30 PM – Beer Garden Last Call

10:00 PM – Event Concludes


Music/Entertainment Lineup

There’s plenty of exciting things to do all day long including a full schedule of family friendly entertainment.

9:00 AM- 9:30 PM – Island Pacific Dancers

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM – Brett Shaw Magic

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM – Pilot Arts, an arts organization focused on musical theatre

12:00 PM- 12:45 PM– Honest Mechanic –  Local rock band

1:00 PM – 1:45 PM – Tater, Mater and Squarsh – Toe tapping, knee slapping, tear jerking, face grinning, heart breaking, love making, rug cutting music with string instruments.

2:00 PM – 2:45 PM – Dandelion Heart – A local folk band

3:00 PM – 3:45 PM – Ashtyn Barbaree – Local Indie-Americana, Neo-Folk Singer/Songwriter

4:00 PM – 4:45 PM The Trashcan Bandits – Swamp-Grass (Indie-Folk and Rock, Cajun Jazz and Blues, Bluegrass and beyond.

5:00 PM – 5:45 PM – Take Cover – Northwest Arkansas cover band

6:30 PM – Welcome by Governor Asa Hutchinson

6:45 PM – 7:45 PM – Jenna and the Soul Shakers – A funk, soul and blues influenced band

8:30 PM – Randall Shreve & The Devilles

For additional questions, check out the SOAR FAQ here.