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2015 Yarra Valley Balloon Festival

The inaugural Yarra Valley Balloon Festival will be launched on Saturday 24 October in conjunction with one of the Valleys premier social events – Yarra Valley Racing’s long running Cox Plate Day race meeting. The festival will showcase all the iconic aspects of the Yarra Valley, including food, wine, racing and balloons. With the race day being perfect for visitors of all ages, including free entertainment around the course including children’s rides and activities, live music, giveaways and a host of marquee and dining packages available, the Yarra Valley Balloon Festival is sure to capture the imagination of lovers of the Yarra Valley.

Keeping in the spirit of a family event, the evenings activities will conclude by 9.00pm with the highlight being an impressive night glow of more than 12 Hot Air Balloons, Yarra Glen CFA demonstration and a 10 minute firework spectacular.The public will have the opportunity to participate in commercial balloon flights throughout the festival whilst tethered balloons will be located at the racecourse on the Sunday morning to provide a great opportunity to experience a ride in a hot air balloon with short ascensions for a gold coin donation.  

A competition will also be conducted where the best photo of the morning flights posted to Instagram with the hashtag #YVBF15 will receive a $500 cash prize.

It is envisaged that this event will be the first component of a much larger event that over time will grow into something that will rival some of the prestigious ballooning events around the world.   A great example of the possibilities is the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta which commenced in 1972 with 13 balloons and now boasts over 600 balloons, attracting more than 100,000 people over 10 days. The event started small and grew with strong community, business and community support.

“Yarra Valley Racing is delighted to be involved in the development of the Yarra Valley Balloon Festival.  We envisage that this year’s event will be the catalyst for a much bigger event in the future that will go on to include many and varied events over a longer period of time.” said Yarra Valley Racing Chief Executive, Brett Shambrook.

“We see this event developing into a significant attraction for the valley that will provide a substantial ongoing economic and social benefit to the local community.”

In partnership with the Balloon Association of Victoria (BAV), the festival has secured a minimum of 12 balloons for the inaugural launch.

“The Balloon Association of Victoria is excited to be working with the Yarra Valley Racing Club, local community groups and businesses to promote tourism within the Yarra Valley” said President of the BAV, Martin Tregale.

“Hot Air Ballooning is iconic within the region and this event will be quite a spectacle.”

The coordination of the Balloons will be conducted by the Balloon Association of Victoria. The BVA will MC the event, providing informative descriptions, help identify the balloons and explain how balloons fly and steer.

In the event that weather conditions do not allow the inflating of balloons, an orchestrated firing of burners will be conducted.

Book your own private flight with one of these commerical companies operating across the Yarra Valley.

11:00am Gates Open
12:00pm - 5:30pm Yarra Valley Cox Plate Day
  Yarra Valley Food & Wine Avenue
  Fashions on the Field
  Live Music
  Free Children’s Entertainment and Activities
5:30pm - 6:30pm Live Music
  Cox Plate live from Moonee Valley
6:30pm - 9:00pm YVBF Cocktail Party
  Parachute Jump
  Yarra Valley Balloon Festival Night Glow
  Night Lanterns for the first 200 children
  Vintage Plane Fly-by & Acrobatic display
  Yarra Glen CFA Demonstration
  Yarra Valley Balloon Festival Night Glow
Fireworks Display
4:30am Morning Flights
  Launch place & flight path updates to be posted on social media
  Photo Competition via social media
 8:00am Tethered Balloons at Yarra Valley Racecourse
  Tethered Balloon Rides - Gold coin donation to a local charity
  Breakfast with the Balloons
  Sponsor Flights


Normal race day admission will apply between 11am and 5pm. You can purchase your admission online for the Yarra Valley Cox Plate Race Day here.

After 5pm, the gates will be open with free entry.


There will be a wide range of local food and wine available throughout the day and evening. Patrons can BYO food, however Yarra Valley Racing is strictly a No BYO Alcohol venue.


Our firework display is sure to be a fantastic spectacle. the display will extend over a 10 minute period, conducted by Melbourne Fireworks.


The Yarra Valley Cox Plate Race Day and Yarra Valley Balloon Festival is a must attend event providing family fun for all ages. There will be plenty of free children's entertainment on course including a Giant Slide, Bouncy Castles, Merry Go Round, Face Painting, Pony Rides and much, much more! 


Getting to the Yarra Valley Racecourse is a easy 60 minute drive from Melbourne. For complete directions by car, and available public transport options, please click here.


Free public parking is available at the Yarra Valley Racecourse, though parking may be limited. Oarking facilities for those with disabled car passes are available at or near the entrance to the course.


The best place to witness our Nightglow and Fireworks show will be from the racecourse itself.

If you fancy a birdseye view of the show, tickets to the Yarra Valley Balloon Festival Cocktail Party on Level 2 of the Grandstand are now on sale. Click here to purchase your tickets now.

Traditionally this meeting has been a prelude to the Spring Carnival and a highlight on the Yarra Valley calendar and this year the event is set to go to a new level with the event entertainment extending well into the evening. The meeting will again showcase all the wonderful things the Yarra Valley has to offer including fashions, food, wine and racing.

To book all your race day hospitality needs, or your admission into the course, click here.