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Photo Highlights — By Slava Sakhnenko on November 30, 2009 at 10:50 am
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5 Largest Balloon Festivals in the World

Ballooning is the first successful aviation technology to lift people into the skies. The first manned flight happened in 1783 in Paris, France and soon hot-air balloons become associated with adventurers and explorers of the 1800’s (there’s even an iconic balloon image associated with Jules Verne’s “Around the World in Eighty Days” even though no balloon flights happened in the book).

Today’s balloonists seem more concerned with trying to shape their creations into the craziest pop-culture references, and organizing amazingly beautiful mass ascends at sunrise. Which is perfectly fine by me!

Here are some of the biggest festivals in the world to witness these majestic flying balls.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA – This nine day event features over 700 balloons and is considered to be the largest balloon festivals in the world. Photo by Eric Ward

The Special Shape Rodeo is a festival event where all the ’special shape’ balloons (like our Darth Vader here) are launched at the same time. Needless to say, it’s pretty popular. Photo by Keith Coronel

Mondial Air Balloons

Lorraine, Chambley, France – The first balloon gathering in Lorraine happened in 1989 to celebrate thebicentenary of the French Revolution. Photo by Pierre Andrews

A mass acsent can involve over 300 balloons and is quite a spectacular sight. Photo by Pierre Andrews

Canberra Balloon Fiesta

Canberra, Australia – Canberra festival is renowned for being one of the few places in the world where balloons ascend and fly right in the center of the town, in close proximity to national attractions such as the Old Parliament House. Photo by Ben Harris-Roxas

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Bristol, United Kingdom – You would think the famously rainy/foggy England would not be too conducive to scheduled balloon festivals, but what do you know!!!?? With over 500,000 people attending the 30th year of the Fiesta, it has proven to be a roaring success. Photo by Anguskirk

Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Pampanga, Philippines – In addition to hundreds of balloons, the Philippine International also features skydiving events, rocketry demonstrations, small plane fly-bys, remote control flying exhibitions and just about everything else that has to do with aviation. Photo by Dennis Tanay

Related places:
  1. A
    Balloon Fiesta
    View Details and Book
  2. B
    54890 Chambley-Bussires
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  3. C
    Old Parliament House
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  4. D
    Bristol Balloon Fiestas Ltd
    View Details and Book
  5. E
    Pampanga, Davao City
    View Details and Book


  • Matt says:

    While I’ve seen many hot air balloon pictures, I have never seen any up close. It would be pretty spectacular to witness a festival first hand.

  • Katrina Verweel says:

    I really like the one from the movie “Up”. That would be a cool balloon to see!

  • Yeah, UP was definitely the balloon of the year. I think they took it to most of the festivals listed here :)

  • I had the opportunity to go up in a hot air balloon last month, with a morning flight over the Napa Valley. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and it had to be canceled. It remains on my to-do list, though, and am hoping to give it a try come spring. The views must be spectacular!

  • Vlad Malik says:

    I love the Darth Vader one. I’m not a big fan of Star Wars, but I like Darth Vader, and I like balloons.

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