Crown of Maine Balloon Festival - COMBFCOMBF

Save the Dates - August 25th - 28th, 2022.

Hot air ballooning is the world’s oldest form of aviation and air travel.  In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers of Annonay, France, made the first successful balloon flight in a balloon filled with smoke from a straw-fed fire.  Today, 232 years later, ballooning has become a recreational and competitive sport.

Aroostook County shares a place in ballooning history as the home to two famous Transatlantic Balloon Flights.  In 1978, the Double Eagle II launched from Presque Isle and made the first successful crossing of the Atlantic.  In 1984, Joe Kittinger became the first person to make the solo Transatlantic balloon journey, launching from Caribou.  That tradition continued last summer as Jonathan Trappe launched his attempted trans-Atlantic balloon flight using 365 individual helium balloons.

With the creation of what was to become the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest 11 years ago, balloons have become an annual tradition, bringing color to the sky and visitors to the region.

The festival was born as part of the 2004 Isle Fest, when local pilot Dena Winslow and pilot Bill Whelan from Ontario convinced the then Presque Isle Area Chamber of Commerce to give it a try.  In addition to Dena and Bill, Doug Shippee from New Brunswick flew that first year.

Doug Shippee has flown in every festival since the beginning.  He has been flying for more than 35 years.  He now has the distinction of being the oldest hot air balloon pilot in Canada.

Isle Fest 2005 saw the expansion to five balloons, and in 2006 the number of balloons rose to nine and Isle Fest was re-dubbed the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest.

Since then the festival has continued to grow and has seen some of the best flying around.  Pilots Wendell Purvis (Tallahassee, FL) and Joel Jones (Seale, AL) claim that The County is one of their favorite places to fly due to the beautiful landscapes and friendly folks.

Because of space and available volunteer crew members, the COMBF plans to fly from 12 to 15 balloons each fest.  There are also some small one-person balloons called “cloud hoppers” that can now be seen each year.

Passenger Flights

Want to experience the joy of flying in a hot air balloon?

Hot air balloon flights will be available during the festival from certain commercial pilots.  The cost is $200/person for morning flights and $200/person for evening ones.

A typical flight lasts from 45 minutes to just over an hour.  The decision to land is at the discretion of the pilot.  Morning flights tend to have a higher success rate and to last longer.

 New this year! You can reserve your Balloon Flight right on the website!
Reserve your flight today and experience this once in a lifetime beautiful ride!!


Hot air balloons flights are highly weather dependent.  If the conditions are rainy, have poor visibility (under a mile) or high wind speeds (Over 5 mph) then the flight is unlikely to go ahead.  COMBF will attempt to reschedule a cancelled flight but because most all flights are full the chance of rescheduling will be challenging.  A few pilots do stay in the Presque Isle for one to two weeks after the festival and there is a good chance a flight can be arranged to replace the missed flight.  The pilots are the ones who make the call on whether conditions are safe to fly or not.  We can only announce their decision after they have made it.  Sometimes the pilots do just take off from the fairgrounds and try to launch from another site.  If you see this happening, you can go follow them and see where they launch.  Please remember that the COMBF staff is doing their very best to get your informed, but it is the call of the Pilots whether to fly or not.  

Tethered Balloon Rides

Crown of Maine Balloon Fest

Flying tethered in 2019

Tethered balloon rides will be available on Friday and Saturday evenings.  They will start at 5:00 p.m. and will cost $10:00 for 12& over and $5:00 for children under 12.  Tickets will be limited to 150 per evening.  They will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  A specific time slot will be assigned for the purchased ticket.  Tickets will go on sale each evening at 4:00 p.m.

Craft Fair

As part of the Crown of Maine Balloonfest, there is a 2-day craft fair held on Friday night from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday from 12-8.  Click Here for vendor form.     

Office Hours

Tue - Fri :
09:00 am - 04:00 pm

Sat - Mon :

Address & Contact Info

3 Houlton Road
Presque Isle, Me 04769
(207) 764-6561