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Tahlequah City Municipal Airport
Tahlequah, OK

The Illinois River BalloonFest Committee (IRBC) and the Community of Tahlequah is proud to announce that plans are underway for the Seventeenth Annual Illinois River BalloonFest.  Tahlequah will once again be hosting this beautiful event of 30 hot air balloons from across the country.  This year’s event is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, August 14 and 15, 2009.  This is the longest running hot air balloon event in the state of Oklahoma and will take place at Tahlequah’s Municipal Airport, located west of the city on SH 51, and will feature balloon glows each night (weather permitting). 

Focusing on family entertainment, this year’s festival will offer a wide variety of family fun, including children’s activities, live music entertainment, tractor pull, four-wheel drive rock crawling exhibition, 5th Annual Illinois River BalloonChase Challenge, lots of food and activities for all. Once again this event could not have been made possible without the continued support of our event and balloon sponsors. We appreciate the local businesses every year supporting this spectacular event for our community.

The festivities open Friday at 4:00 p.m. with vendor booths, food concessions, kids’ activities and live music beginning at 6:00 p.m.  The spectacular balloon glow will begin at 8:30 p.m. (weather permitting).  At the conclusion of the balloon glow, an exciting fireworks show will end the evening.

Activities will continue Saturday, August 15th beginning with a Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast for sale from 6:00-9:00 a.m., the 5th Annual Illinois River BalloonChase Challenge beginning at 7:30 a.m.  Information on entering this year’s 5K Challenge can be found at  The BalloonFest grounds will open at 9:00 a.m. where there are kids’ activities, vendors, and food concessions available until the event closes at 9:00 p.m.

Admission is Free. There will be a $5 parking fee per vehicle good for all day!

The Illinois River BalloonFest Committee would like to remind spectators of a few very important tips.  Spectators need to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets for seating.  The public should plan to allow ample time to arrive at the site, park, and be in a position to enjoy the balloons, the live entertainment, and special family activities.  There will be additional costs for some activities on site, of course, food and drink concessions will offer a wide variety of items for sale.

It is important to remember that all activities at an outdoor event are subject to weather conditions.  The hot air balloon events, are totally weather –related, and may be cancelled for safety reasons.  Ice chests, outside food/beverages or alcohol will NOT be allowed on the site.

IRBC is a not-for-profit organization composed of community volunteers committed to enhancing the economic development of Tahlequah and Cherokee County. 

Illinois River BalloonFest Committee (IRBC)