I love how colorful they are. I've never been to a balloon festival/launch, but it sounds like a great time. :-)
Come to New Mexico in the fall and there will be hot air balloons all over the place. Not all have "festivals" like the big one in Albuquerque, but there are balloon pilots just launching on their own many weekends in the fall. The biggest event is in Albuquerque, but there are smaller events all over the state too.