Looking for hot-air balloon festivalsHot air ballooning is on my bucket list, and I would like to take my ride in conjunction with a balloon festival somewhere in the Upper Midwest. Can you tell me where a festival will be held this summer? - Julia, Hammond, Ind.
There are a couple of hot-air balloon festivals in June: the Monroe Balloon Rally, in the southern-Wisconsin cheese capital, and the Great Galena Balloon Race, at Eagle Ridge Resort in northwest Illinois.
The Galena festival offers rides to the public. Not all festivals offer rides; you'll have to check.
It would be easy to catch both festivals — they're only about an hour apart.
In the western Chicago suburbs, Lisle holds its Eyes to the Skies festival the first week of July.
In the north-central Wisconsin town of Wausau, the Balloon Rally & Glow is in mid-July, on a weekend that also includes Chalkfest and Ribfest.
Between Milwaukee and Lake Geneva, the Waterford Hot Air Balloon Festival also is in mid-July.
In the northwest Illinois town of Galesburg, the Galesburg Balloon Race is held on Lake Story on the last weekend of July.
In August, there's the Balloon Rally during Seymour's Hamburger Festival, near Green Bay.
For more, see Floating on air.