Battle Creek’s biggest festival celebrates flight – whether it’s hot air balloons, jet planes, Ferris wheels or fireworks.

New to the event? Then here are some tips.

The schedule

Field of Flight lasts from June 30 to July 4 and each day has different flavors. If you want the air show and fireworks, go July 2 or July 4. If the carnival is your #1 priority, go on June 30, when admission is free. If you want to see something original, the night show with pyrotechnics is July 1. Check the full schedule here.

Free day

June 30 is a great day to bring the kids. Admission is free and parking is $10 per car. The carnival is open, there’s a balloon illume and activities for families. Kids can sign up for a bike giveaway.

75 years for the US Air Force

This year is the 75th anniversary of the Air Force. Their theme is “Innovate, Accelerate, Thrive.” Get a demonstration when the USAF Thunderbirds perform during the air show. The US National Guard Band will perform at 7 p.m. on the Fourth of July.

Best photos

Anyone with a camera phone can get amazing pics during any of the hot air balloon events. The balloons are scheduled to either launch or land at the airport every night at 7 p.m. It’s a whimsical moment, when the balloons float overhead, close enough for everyone to wave to the pilots. 

This may seem obvious, but the balloon events do depend on the weather and how much wind there is. The illume nights, however, don’t require a launch. Balloons are tethered to the ground and as the sky grows dark, the balloons light up with bursts of fire.

Bring seating

The festival takes place at an airport, so bring your own chairs. But don’t stop at the lawn chair – we see beach tents, sun umbrellas, and once even a portable hammock stand. There’s no shade in the field, so do what you can to keep cool. 

Speaking of cool, coolers are allowed as long as they don’t contain glass or alcohol.

Treat yourself

There will be a lot of delicious fair food to indulge in, so pace yourself. Maybe start with cotton candy, move to BBQ ribs and tacos, cool off with shaved ice and lemon shake-ups, load up on Saratoga fries or fried cheese on a stick, then finish the night with an elephant ear.

Parking tips

Exact change is needed for parking and no cards will be accepted at the admission gate – but they do have an ATM if you forget. Here are more guidelines.

The parking areas are marked with signs, so take a picture of the sign closest to your vehicle. It’ll make it easier to find your parking spot at the end of the day, when it gets dark.

Meet the aerialists

During the air show, some of the performers are available for meet-and-greets. Last year, the Misty Blues All Female Parachute Team moved through the crowd after jumping from airplanes. They were easy to spot in their pink jumpsuits, as they posed for photos and signed autographs. The Misty Blues are returning this year.