Maryland Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds, Maryland

Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival
May 18-20, 2017
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Behind any successful hot air balloon event is a dedicated group of pilots and crew members from far and wide. We appreciate and thank these talented individuals for coming together to create our festival. Mother Nature allowed us to have a wonderful Thursday morning media flight and a beautiful mass ascension on Friday morning.

Friday Morning Flight

Special Thanks to our Major Sponsor: The Bob Lucido Team

Bob Lucido Team

The Bob Lucido balloon flying over West Friendship on Friday Morning

The Long Running Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival is one of many events planned during the week-long series of special events celebrating the annual running of the Preakness Stakes, Baltimore's "Super Bowl" and the 2nd jewel in thoroughbred racing's prestigious Triple Crown. The Hot Air Balloon Festival has a long and colorful tradition going back 40 years.

The Howard County Fairgrounds in Howard County, Maryland brightened the skies this year as the Centerpiece Venue for the long running balloon festival.

Go to our Facebook event page and tell us what you think then share it with your friends.

A few words on weather and flying in a hot air balloon.
Hot air ballooning is a wonderful sport but weather plays a key factor if standup or flight can take place for safety sake of everybody involved. Balloons simply do not stand up or fly in unsafe conditions.
On Friday afternoon, Mother Nature treated us to a rare cloud formation and an impressive display of lightning. After a couple hours of breezy conditions and scattered clouds, around 5PM weather conditions began to deteriorate. Darker clouds rolled in and hail was reported in New Market. Then the sun popped out for about ten minutes. Some would think that the worst is over and "why are the balloons not standing up"

Then forming over us came the Mammatus clouds which are rare around here and are most often associated with the anvil cloud and also severe thunderstorms. They often extend from the base of a cumulonimbus, but may also be found under altocumulus, altostratus, stratocumulus, and cirrus clouds. To the average person these were beautiful clouds. To the weather knowledgeable balloon pilots, these clouds were a prelude to more dangerous weather ahead.
And still some were asking why are the balloons not flying

And then came the dark clouds moving to the south of us. We had reports of very heavy rain at the Bay Bridge. Then the impressive lightning show began. If anyone has pictures, please email to us at
A decision was made to not only cancel the balloon activities but also for everyone's safety to close down the festival for the evening. When balloons do fly as witnessed by our Friday morning flight, it is a magnificent sight.

WMAR TV 2- Mike Taylor take his first balloon flight

WBAL - TV Live coverage with Jennifer Thursday morning with Howard Kittleman and Miss Maryland International

WBAL-TV Live coverage with Jennifer Thursday morning media flight

Photos Courtesy of Kenny Adamsbaum

VIDEOS 2017:
Video courtesy of Ken Adamsbaum

Numerous YouTube videos of 2017 Preakness Balloon Festival

Tethers in Action in 2016

see larger picture

Returning again -- the Roaming Railroad will be 'roaming' the grounds providing fun rides for all.

see See larger picture of festival layout

If a picture says a 1000 words, then see
--- 2016 in Pictures
--- 2015 in Pictures

Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival        



We power these giant balloons!

Harry Witzke Funeral Home


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