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The Biggest Hot Air Balloon Festivals

posted in: Events  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on September 22, 2008  |  8 Comments

Hot air balloons are quite possibly some of the most amazing creations to ever fly the blue skies. The colorful balloon designs and incredible baskets carrying men and women from all over the world are a sight to behold. Imagine seeing dozens, or even hundreds, of colorful balloons in the air at the same time.

Each summer, communities around the globe sponsor a myriad of hot air balloon festivals. The biggest, brightest balloon owners from all over the world gather to show off their skills. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get to take a balloon ride of your own! Make sure you check out a few of these hot festivals.

Canberra Balloon Fiesta

Canberra Balloon Festival

The Canberra Balloon Fiesta is held each fall in Australia. For nine days in April, balloons from all over the world launch every morning, slowly inflating into a myriad of shapes and sizes. Many of the balloons featured here are incredibly unique. One year there was a pair of dancing honeybees floating near a replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s head. The balloons officially launch daily from the yard of the Old Parliament House in Canberra.

Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

Quick Chek Hot Air Balloons

Hot Air Balloons in New Jersey

The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning was founded by Quick Chek food stores back in 1983. Since then it has grown into an annual event featuring over 125 hot air balloons ranging from those with special shapes to those created for sports and racing. The festival also features other types of entertainment, including concerts, food, and firework shows!

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque Hot Air Balloons

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico is the largest balloon festival in the entire world! Held each October, the event spans nine days and features over 750 incredible balloons. There are a number of special events held throughout the festival.

Alburquerque Dawn Patrol

One of the most incredible is the Dawn Patrol, where special lights are used to allow a series of balloonists to launch their balloons well before sunrise. The most popular is the Mass Ascension, during which time all of the participating balloons launch in two or three carefully coordinated waves.

Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic

Alabama Jubilee

The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic is an annual event held in Decatur, Alabama every Memorial Day weekend. The official event is held in Point Mallard Park where the public is invited to roam the fair grounds free of charge. Around 60 hot air balloons from around the country will be inflated for an evening of fun and entertainment. The festival also features a car show, live entertainment, food, fireworks, and a series of different ballooning events.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is held in Bristol in the United Kingdom each year. The four day festival draws crowds of over 100,000 each day, with people gathering to watch over 100 balloons at a time during their launches.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

One of the favorite attractions during the festival is the annual night glow, where balloons are launched after dark and are choreographed to glow in time with specific music!

Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival

Gatineau Balloons

The Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival is held in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada towards the end of August and early September each year. The festival was founded in 1988 by Jean Boileau, who was seriously injured while trying to save his daughter during a tragic balloon accident in 2001. This led the city of Gatineau to revamp its rules regarding the festival, which now features only 75 balloons as opposed to the original 125. These changes had little impact on festival attendance. The festival also features the Canadian Strongment competition, which qualifies the winner to participate in the World’s Strongest Man Competition later in the year.

Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta

Saxonia Balloon

The Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta is held in Leipzig, Germany during July of each year. It is considered the third largest balloon festival in all of Europe. The event is held in a public park known as Silbersee and has room to feature over 100 balloons. There are dozens of competitions for balloonists to participate in, including fox hunting and simply flying as far as possible.

Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Philippine Balloon Festival

The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival is held every year in Clark Field in Angeles City, Pampanga. Over a hundred balloonists participate in this festival each year, usually during the months of January and February. The festival features a number of incredible air sports aside from ballooning as well. Visitors will be amazed by skydiving events, small plane fly-bys, acrobatics, airplane balloon bursting, and a number of other astounding events.

Philippine Hot Air Balloon

No matter where you are in the world, we can almost guarantee a hot air balloon festival will pop up nearby at some point during the year. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see some of the world’s greatest balloonists in action. Hot air balloons simply don’t fly by as often as we’d like!

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24


Responses to this Article


8 Responses to “The Biggest Hot Air Balloon Festivals”

  1. Eric@Car Donation Program says on

    I’ve heard good things about the New Mexico event. Have not gone yet myself but someday I think I will.

  2. Ryan says on

    We are planning to go to the Philippine event this February!

  3. Matt @ Sell Gold Scrap says on

    The Australia and Quebec events attract me quite a bit. There’s something unexplainable about balloons and balloon rides. I’m long overdue to ride in one ever since Jules Verne used one for part of his character’s journey.

  4. Rick @ Call Center Phone System says on

    I was lucky to be New Mexico for the international balloon festival many years earlier and it was a truly awesome sight to see the sky almost completely blocked out by the armada of colorful airships. It was almost surreal, like something Rene Magritte would have painted. This was before the invention of affordable digital cameras, so I have nothing of record except the memory.

  5. kimo says on

    what is the world record for largest number of hot air ballons in one place

  6. lynn.pierce@ntlworld.com says on

    please could any one tell me when camberra balloon festival is in 2010 i am going to austrilia in febuaury i think it is march

  7. Jessica Renee Townsend says on

    The idea of so many balloons fills me with such desire and adventure sense that I could cry.

    I am going to do this in my life time. I promise myself here and now.



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