Established in 1992 by a group of business people, civic leaders, and friends, the Great Falls Balloon Festival is a weekend-long celebration featuring hot air balloons, food, and entertainment.
With the support of local businesses, an army of volunteers and the cooperative efforts of the cities of Lewiston and Auburn, the festival has gained a national reputation as a first-class event and is a destination for many visitors to the state of Maine.
Based at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston—with additional entertainment and food offerings at Festival Plaza in Auburn—the festival attracts approximately 100,000 visitors throughout the weekend. The Androscoggin River and rocky Great Falls provide a picturesque setting for the dozens of balloons that visit each year, including some special shape balloons. With free admission, hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by participating non-profits and economic impact in excess of $2,000,000, it’s easy to see why our community eagerly anticipates the festival each year.
Balloon launches are scheduled for 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily, weather permitting. When the balloons aren’t overhead, there is still plenty to do: dozens of food booths offer everything from lime rickeys to taco salad, pancake breakfast follows the morning launches, craft and trade booths invite browsing, a children’s area with games, a bounce house, and face painting and live entertainment on two stages. Carnival rides, a parade, and various demonstrations and contests round out the weekend’s events.