Lakeside of The Smokies Balloon Fest—LOTS Of Fun!

Lakeside of The Smokies Balloon Fest—LOTS Of Fun!

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As the mountains turn from green to red, yellow, and orange, the crisp fall air beckons people to head outside and take in the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park, canoe nearby Douglas and Cherokee lakes, explore hiking trails, and camp out under the stars. The Great Smoky Mountains, in all their fall color glory, become the perfect backdrop for Jefferson County’s newest event of the year—the Lakeside Of The Smokies Balloon Fest! Held at the Chilton Family Farm in White Pine, Tennessee.  LOTS Balloon Fest features activities for people of all ages including a huge selection of food trucks, live music, children’s activities and much more! Need help planning the perfect weekend at the festival? We have some highlights to get you started.

Up, Up, And Away!

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All eyes take to the skies as over 20 hot air balloons will be featured at the first annual Lakeside of The Smokies Balloon Fest! The festival is proud to host a number of talented hot air balloon pilots from across the country. Many of the balloons participating in the festival are traditional round balloons, which come in a variety of colors and patterns. Shape balloons will also be at the festival, including a few recognizable characters named Puddy Cat and Yellow Bird, a giant sun known as Sunny Boy, and a local favorite, Smokey the Bear, who celebrated 75 years promoting fire prevention with the U.S. Forest Service this year! 

Activities For All Ages 

While the main attraction will have most folks looking up, make sure you plan to look around too! After visiting the numerous balloon setups that will be performing both tethered and non-tethered rides (advance tickets required), put on your dancin’ shoes and enjoy the great line up of  live music, see the Smoky Mountain Antique Tractor Show, and entertain the little ones at the kids fair, complete with face painting! Balloons will start to inflate, and rides will begin in the early afternoon, with a show stopping Balloon Glow happening each evening around sunset. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs to enjoy the bands and the balloon activity in comfort. Printed schedules and maps will be available at the information kiosk, or view the daily online schedule here.

Hot Eats and Cool Treats

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No festival would be complete without food, would it? LOTS Balloon Fest is bringing together some of the best local food trucks and vendors to satisfy every appetite! Craving some good old-fashioned BBQ? There will be plenty to choose from, including Buddy’s BBQ, GrillBilly Smoke, and Smokin’ J’s BBQ. If you’re bringing friends from out of town and want to show them some fine southern food with a little sass, try The Chicken Coop for some delicious southern fried chicken, The Crave Food Truck for traditional Tennessee fare, or a local, farm-fresh burger and fixin’s from Down South Grub House. You can also take your taste buds on a trip around the world with unique options like the Italian American fusion style of Penne For Your Thoughts, the exotic Japanese flavors of Kazoku Hibachi Express, and the Hungarian focused menu of A&J Chimney Cakes. Finish your meal with a sweet treat from The Gelato Brothers (including their addictive espresso-topped affogato), an indulgent, guilt-free pop from Artistic Pops, gourmet Italian ice from Toney’s Italian Ice, along with multiple vendors offering traditional fair foods like funnel cakes, cotton candy, and caramel apples. View the full listing of food trucks and vendors here.

Elevate Your Experience

There doesn’t need to be a special occasion to upgrade your experience at the LOTS Balloon Fest. Whether it’s a day without kids, a girls’ weekend, or you just feel like treating yourself and your friends, we invite you to upgrade to the Elevate Your Experience ticket. Enjoy a wine, food, and hot air balloon themed afternoon in one of our tented VIP areas, complete with complimentary glasses of local wines, plus a commemorative still and sparkling wine glass. Upgraded beverage stations are also available with teas, lemonade, coffee, and spiced hot apple cider. Unique food displays for our Elevated Experience guests feature farm-to table bites, local meat and cheese boards, and an upscale desert experience to pair with bubbly. Limited tickets are available, so grab your Elevated Experiences passes while you still can!

Explore Lakeside of The Smokies

It’s hard to imagine being able to experience all the excitement and beauty of the Lakeside of the Smokies in a single day. Why not plan an entire weekend in Jefferson County so you can extend the fun? It’s easy to add in a day at Dollywood in nearby Pigeon Forge, discover the sights of the area’s beautiful lakes, take a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains, or see a UT football game! Being so close to so many attractions means we have a variety of places to stay to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cabin, a campsite off the beaten path, a quaint bed and breakfast, or a lakeside resort, we have it all. Book your stay today to see what adventure the Lakeside of The Smokies has to offer!