The Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival is an annual event held over three days in November. It takes place in the City of Yuma in Arizona and brings thousands of visitors from across the nation every year. Balloon events happen in several locations throughout Yuma over the course of the festival.
Those who attend the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival, which has been in operation since 1990, are treated to an action-packed schedule of entertainment. Balloons are usually launched from Kiwanis Park on 8th Street and Magnolia Avenue on the first day, often then followed by entertainment galore at West Wetlands Park on the second day.
The park, which is on 1st Street and 12th Avenue, plays host to music, on-field interviews, a flag ceremony, tethered balloon rides, a balloon launch, and more. Guests are then invited to the Ray Kroc Complex and Desert Sun Stadium for even more excitement, including food, a children’s carnival, tethered balloon rides, fireworks, and much, much more.
Finally, a balloon launch at sunrise at West Wetlands Park on Sunday marks the end of the festival, with even more music, food and drinks, and entertainment to put a smile on visitors’ faces. This Caballeros de Yuma-supported event is not one to miss, and it continues to get bigger and better every fall.
After three days of sunrise balloon launching and daytime entertainment, you’ll surely want to carry on the fun. Stay in Yuma and vacation a little while. Go swimming at Waylon’s Water World, fishing at Gateway Park, or how about exploring at Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park?
You could even get back to nature with a trip to the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge or Cibola National Wildlife Refuge along the Colorado River. So much to do, so little time. Load up the family this fall for a vacation to remember.
If you can never seem to find an affordable and family-friendly event, then you’re in luck. The Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival is one such event. Admission to the morning launches over the three days is the donation of canned food for the Crossroads Mission.
If you are attending the Balloon Glow event at Desert Sun Stadium, then you will need canned food for each person and $2 each. You can also purchase tethered balloon rides, which, in the past, have been $15.
Yuma is a beautiful and exciting city that borders Mexico and California. It’s west of Gila River, just 60 miles from the Gulf of California, and boasts a hot, dry desert-like climate. Arizona State Route 195 and I-8 service Yuma from each direction, putting you in proximity to Mexico’s border and a myriad of United States’ national parks and refuges.
Needless to say, any journey to Yuma will be an exciting one, but also a little challenging. Make sure you carry plenty of food and water to combat the arid conditions. You can remain up to date with weather conditions, driving challenges, and any delays in Yuma County and throughout the state with Arizona 511.
The Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival is a busy event, with three venues setting the scene over the three days. With that in mind, it’s worth noting that not only will there be a lot of traffic on the road, but limited places to park.
Arrive bright and early to West Wetlands Park to utilize one of the few large parking spaces for RVs. For those attending the day’s activities at Desert Sun Stadium, parking is plentiful but marked for smaller vehicles.
Yuma has an excellent transit system that allows bus users to jump on and off buses at regular intervals throughout the city. However, if you wish to use the bus network to get around, make sure the running times align with those of when you want to attend the day’s events.
Remember, the balloon launches take place at sunrise, meaning rideshare services or your motorhome could be the best way to get around for at least part of the day.
Given that three different venues that form part of this festival, on site camping is not something that organizers offer. However, Yuma is blessed with an abundance of RV campgrounds that are likely to appeal. Expand your search to within 20 miles of the festival and enjoy being close to all the action.
When you’re on the hunt for somewhere to stay with an RV, you’ll come across a cluster of RV parks and RV resorts from which to choose. However, it’s essential to read the fine print concerning accommodation. Many of the available options are for long-term residents. You may need to look on the outskirts of Yuma for both primitive RV camping opportunities amongst nature, and short-term RV resorts with service hookups such as water, sewer, and electricity.
The best way to get around each of the venues that form part of the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival is on foot. You can drive or be transported from one place to the next, then make your way from where you park to all the action. Wear durable footwear, and pop your bicycle back in your motorhome for use once the balloon festival is over or make sure to lock it near the venues if you plan to ride from spot to spot.
Even though fall is not the warmest time of the year, you still won’t need to pack your wet weather gear. Yuma boasts the most sunshine, heat, and aridness of any populated place in the country, meaning even fall won’t bring about much, if any, rainfall. You can get away with light, breathable, summery attire, but pack a few warmer garments for nighttime temperatures, which can drop into the 50s.
Jumping from one venue to the next can mean you need to put a lot more thought into what you bring with you. While you can leave all your camping and cooking equipment in your locked RV, it’s a good idea to bring a small backpack with space for your cash and payment cards, mobile phone, and water bottle to remain hydrated. Don’t forget your canned food for each person to get into each venue.
One of the primary health and safety factors on your Yuma vacation is the weather. It may be fall, but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience hot weather. Make sure you bring a sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and bug spray with you at all times. Drinking water is also essential and plenty of it. Don’t forget to pop a first aid kit, any prescription medication you require, and toiletries in your RV for convenience at various times over your travels.
How and what you cook may depend on where you end up setting up camp for the duration of the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival. Many RV campgrounds and resorts offer communal cooking areas, but others allow you to use your RV appliances, including charcoal grills. Before you light a fire, check the campground’s specific RV camping rules.
Once you know how you can cook, you can then decide what you can cook. Will it be s’mores? Will it be camp-style hot dogs? Or will you try your hand at a stir-fry in the RV? Don’t forget to stock up on supplies in Yuma. There are several markets and convenience stores within a three-mile distance of the California and Arizona border by West Wetlands Park.
If you’ve suddenly realized that you’re not as talented on a camp cooker as you thought, then why not dine out? You’re on vacation, so treat yourself. Indulge in old-fashioned pizza, tacos, grilled food, or even fast food that you can eat at the restaurant or have delivered to your campsite. There are options galore no matter which direction you head in Yuma.
At each of the balloon launch sites of the Colorado River Crossing Festival, spectators are treated to some delicious food and beverages courtesy of some unique vendors. Enjoy sausages and hamburgers, fries, soda, and much more. Bring both cash and payment cards, as most vendors will not accept debit cards or credit cards.
The Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival is a family-friendly event that welcomes all families. To make sure it’s safe for all, organizers will be welcoming guests through the gates, taking your canned food and entry fees, and making sure you’re not bringing pets or anything in that could harm others. You can approach these same security officials if you have any concerns, or visit the police station within two miles of West Wetlands Park.
You would be amazed at how balmy the temperatures in Yuma can be, even during fall and winter. On your travels, always remember to carry plenty of food and water on board. Temperatures can reach as high as 80 degrees and only drop to around 50 degrees overnight. It also wouldn’t hurt to ensure your heating and cooling units (especially cooling) are in tip-top shape before you begin your trip to Yuma, Arizona.
Given that the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival is a family-friendly event, you’re unlikely to find yourself in too many injury-inducing situations. You can take care of cuts and scrapes with your onboard first aid kit, but medical emergencies could see the need for you to phone 911. If this is the case, the nearest medical center and pharmacy are within four miles of West Wetlands Park.