Over the past twenty years, the Plano Balloon Festival has attracted more than 100,000 spectators from all over the world as one of the largest and most significant hot air balloon festivals. It has expanded from five ballooning events to include a wide variety activities ranging from performing art stages to hands-on activities for children. The Plano Balloon Festival is widely recognized today, and with reason: it packs in the crowds, receives great coverage on television, radio and in newspapers as well as Plano being acknowledged as the "Balloon Capital of Texas".
The festival is supported by Federal, State and Local authorities and agencies, including the Governor of Texas, Mayor and City Council of Plano, the Federal Aviation Administration, Plano Convention and Visitors Bureau, Plano Parks and Recreation Board, and Plano Fire Department's "Learn not to Burn" Program. The festival also rates highest for the budget raised for nearly twenty nonprofit organizations. Admission entrance fee ranges from $4 to $15 depending on the day of the week. Saturday and Sunday day pass makes $6.
The Community Credit Union's Plano Balloon Festival is a three-day event, which provides the visitors with a weekend rich in activities, including entertainment on the Field Stage and the KDFW FOX 4 Community Stage, a spectacular fireworks show, the Dairy Best, activities for kids and the Hot Air Balloon Festival. The special feature of Plano Balloon Festival is its 100 colorful hot air balloons, which attract thousands of spectators.
In 2004, visitors of the festival were provided with the possibility of taking a balloon ride during the show. The cost of the ride is $250 per person. The parachute team performs from Friday to Sunday by jumping from a plane and landing in the middle of the drop zone. Saturday evenings wrap up with a spectacular fireworks show, which is sponsored by Schweppes.
As far as food is concerned, the Plano Balloon Festival started adding a variety of items to the menu, like funnel cakes, refreshing snow cones and glow sticks. The Plano Balloon Festival is a family event, designed to provide entertainment for the whole family. People willing to purchase a balloon ride, are required to be at least ten years of age and must be in good health. People under the age of 18 are required to have permission from their parents. All the passengers have to sign a release form provided by the ride provider of the festival.
The Community Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival exists due to the support of hundreds of the volunteers, who are responsible for providing a friendly atmosphere and excellent service during the festival. The volunteers from local organizations support the Festival operations, answer the questions of guests and make sure that everything runs smoothly.
In 2005 the festival encouraged and welcomed volunteers from the community as well as from organizations sponsoring the event, thus making it a success. The festival sponsorships aim at providing maximum return for the spectators' investment dollars. Due to the numerous entertainment events and excellent service Plano Balloon Festival maintains an outstanding reputation.