October 01, 2023

Balloon days returns for 45th event

Scott Armstrong is the balloonmeister for the 45th Southwest Iowa Hot Air Balloon Days. He organizes all hot air balloon events.

Get fed plenty of flying, food and fun during the 45th annual Southwest Iowa Hot Air Balloon Days in Creston.

Events start today at 4:30 p.m. with the annual pork chop dinner at McKinley Park. Members of Creston’s Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis clubs join forces to serve. The last meal will be served at 7 p.m. Thursday is also the first day of Friends of the Library used book sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the The Pantry Event Center, 417 Wyoming. The sale will also be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The book sale continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. Weather permitting, balloon pilots will participate in the Friday Fun Flight sponsored by Wellman Dynamics that starts at 5 p.m.

Saturday is a full day of fun and balloons.

The first race is scheduled at 6:30 a.m. Pilots will meet at Creston’s airport for weather reports and additional instructions. Food stands are scheduled to open at 6 a.m. at the airport and in Uptown Creston.

The Southern Prairie Family 5k fun run and walk begins at 8 a.m. at McKinley Park. The craft fair and flea market begins at 8 a.m. in Uptown Creston. Flea market stands will be in the 100 and 200 blocks of Maple Street. The railroad caboose in Uptown Creston opens for self-guided tours at 9 a.m. and close at noon.

Creston Model Railroaders will be open from 9 a.m. to noon in Creston Restored Depot. The presidential doll display at the depot will be open during the day. A decorated paper-mache hot air balloon display and contest will be from 9 a.m. to noon at the Creston Arts Cente

Scott Armstrong's balloon flies during a National Balloon Classic event in Indianola. He is the balloonmesiter for the Southwest Iowa Hot Air Balloon Days event this year.

r, 411 W. Adams St.

The annual balloon days parade begins at 10:30 a.m. in Uptown Creston. Creston High School’s 2023 band field event begins at 1 p.m. at the high school. Creston’s Historical Village will be open from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Multiple events are scheduled Saturday at the airport. The pet show will be at 2 p.m. followed by a pedal pull at 2:30 p.m. At 4:30 p.m., will be another balloon race (weather permitting) and tethered balloon rides. A remote-control hot air balloon demonstration will be at 5 p.m. Those balloons can be one-third the size of a traditional hot air balloon but operate the same way from control on the ground. The demonstration is expected to also be tethered.

Dock of the Bay will be at 6 p.m. at the Eagles. Starting at the same time, a dance will be at the Chicken Inn west of Creston on U.S. Highway 34. Dance ends at 9 p.m.

Night glow, when balloon pilots activate their gas tanks, will follow the evening flight.

The last balloon race (weather permitting) is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Sunday with food stands at the airport open from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.