10 ballooning festivals worldwide

Hot air ballooning is one of the oldest forms of air travel. The activity is a literal interpretation of the traveler’s creed “go where the wind takes you.” While the pilots can control the altitude of the balloon, the air currents decide where you’ll end up and how fast you’ll get there.
Below are 10 balloon festivals around the world worth to visit. Whether you’re a passenger, a spectator, or if you want to get your hands dirty helping get one off the ground, these events all have something for you.

1.    Colorado Balloon Classic
Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Website: http://www.balloonclassic.com/
At 33 years old, the Colorado Balloon Classic is the longest continuous hot air balloon festival in the Rocky Mountain region. In 2008 it was even voted into the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association.

2.    Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
Where: Bristol, UK
Website: http://www.bristolfiesta.co.uk/
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest, attracting over 100 balloons and half a million spectators. The Special Shapes Rodeo promises popular returning balloons like Scottish Piper, Churchill Dog, and Swindon House in addition to new surprises.

3.    Balloon Classic Invitational
Where: North Canton, Ohio
Website: http://www.hotairballoon.com/Balloon-Classic-Invitational/
The Balloon Classic Invitational, which began in 1985, merged with the Jackson-Belden Food Fest & Fireworks in 1995 to create a balloon/food/fireworks extravaganza. With over 70 balloons now participating in great events like team racing, target drops, and pole grabs.


4.    Saxony International Balloon Fiesta
Where: Leipzig, Germany
Website: http://www.balloonfiesta.de/
Saxony International Balloon Fiesta is featuring up to 70 balloons take to the sky and light up the night.

5.    Magic City Hot Air Balloon Rally
Where: Billings, Montana
Website: http://www.magiccityhotairballoonrally.com/
This event is organized by the nonprofit organization Magic City Hot Air Balloon Rally to keep interest in this unique activity alive in the area.

6.    Montgolfiades de Dole
Where: Dole, France
Website: http://www.montgolfiades-dole.groupecbf.com/
Along with the night glow of the balloons, you can feast your eyes and ears on a spectacular choreographed fireworks display for the finale of this festival.

7.    Great Texas Balloon Race
Where: Longview, Texas (East Texas Regional Airport)
Website: http://www.hotairballoon.com/Great-Texas-Balloon-Race/
This event is considered by many competing pilots to be the best-run event on the circuit. Watch close up how the balloons are inflated and how they work.

8.    Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally
Where: Panguitch City, Utah
Website: http://panguitchvalleyballoonrally.com/
The Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally is touted as southern Utah’s premier hot air balloon event. The National History District of Panguich not only plays host, but also claims to offer the highest concentration of scenic natural wonders in America.

9.    Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic
Where: Windsor, California
Website: http://www.schabc.org/
Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic is offering up tethered balloon rides to the public.

10.    Velikie Luki International Balloon Meet
Where: Velikie Luki, Russia
Website: http://balloon-cup.ru/2009/index_en.php
Witness the crowning of Russian champion at the Velikie Luki International Balloon Meet. Event organizers and officials are putting together social events for guests to acquaint themselves with Velikie Luki and the Pskov region.

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