Hot Air Balloon Festivals are a worldwide phenomena that also double as apt family-friendly outings. Here’s a list of the most interesting and awesome ones we’ve come across.
1. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico
Where: New Mexico, USA
The largest balloon event in the world started off as a small gathering of 13 balloons in 1972. Held annually during the first week of October, this massive balloon fiesta spans over nine days and attracts more than 700 balloons and 1000 pilots from all over the world. It has grown from a mall parking lot to a permanent site which is more than 350 acres! The Mass Ascensions is probably one of the most spectacular sights you could see – the sky looks almost kaleidoscopic with hundreds of balloons in the air at once! Apart from this, there is also the Special Shape Rodeo where you can see some of the most whimsical and uniquely shaped balloons – from soda pop cans to Darth Vader! After sunset, the sky is illuminated with balloons lit with propane burners that stand static and do not take off.
2. Pushkar International Balloon Festival
When: November 20 to 22
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan
With a number of majestic forts and palaces dotting its terrain, Rajasthan provides an excellent landscape to balloon over. At this one-of-a-kind festival, you can explore the beauty of the Pushkar from high up in the sky even as you enjoy a luxurious ride. The flight will give a spectacular view of the scenic lake which is enveloped by beautiful ghats, as well as the nearby Aravalli range.
3. The Great Texas Balloon Race
When: July 10 to 12
Where: Longview, Texas
The Texas Balloon Race is considered to be the most prestigious hot air balllooning contest out there. The festival doesn’t just showcase talent, but also features good well-rounded entertainment including music, art and crafts for kids, and a lot of air ballooning seminars for amateurs and enthusiasts. This really helps bring the hot air ballooning community of Southern USA together.
4. Montgolfiades de Dole
When: July 11-13
Where: Dole, France
This event is breathtakingly beautiful as hot air balloons are released into the sky during nighttime which is followed by a spectacular fireworks show. Montgolfiades de Dole also supports children with serious illnesses as some proceeds of the event are reserved for them.
5. Velikie Luki International Balloon Meet
When: June 6-13
Where: Velikie Luki, Russia
This is Russia’s flagship ballooning event that has won major international accolades for its vibrance and vastness.
6. Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival
When: First monday of September
Where: Quebec, Canada
The Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival is a yearly festival organized by a non-profit organization, during which hot air balloons of every shape and colour are flown and where 300 shows and performances adding up to over 60 hours’ worth of programming are taking place. More than 200,000 visitors and 1,000 RVs usually participate!
7. Colorado Balloon Classic
When: Sept 5 to 7
Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
As one of the oldest and continuous hot air balloon festivals around, the 33 year old Colorado Balloon Classic has become one of USA’s top rated outdoor events. The landscape is gorgeous and looks even more stunning when creative yet classy air balloons fly over it.