Balloons in the evening

It’s almost August and you know what that means… it’s time for the 16th annual Gatesway Balloon Festival at the Will Rogers Downs in Claremore.

The festival kicks off Friday, August 5th with evening balloon flights and musical entertainment. The next morning, the festivities begin at 7am with helicopter flights, lawn mower races, the “Feet on Fire” 5K run and 1-mile walk for all ages and the traditional “Balloon Glow” that night.

“I think that the reason people attend is partially the mission of Gatesway but a lot is to see the balloons’ uniqueness and beauty,” says Laquinda Davison, Director of Development for Gatesway. Gatesway is a non-profit organization that offers opportunities for people living with intellectual disabilities. This year, the festival is teaming up with “Reach for the Stars” Hot Air Balloon to provide wheelchair-accessible balloon rides for those interested for a $10 donation.

“Last year we probably had around 11,000 people at the festival. We expect an increase because we’ve added new activities like the balloon rides for people in wheelchairs,” says Davison. “I think those will be draws for people who normally don’t have those opportunities. It’s a really unique event.”The foundation is open to accepting donations to support their cause and will have boxes set up around the festival grounds.

All events and parking are free to the public. For a complete schedule of events and or directions, visit