Oldest Hot Air Balloon Festivals in the World

10 Oldest Hot Air Balloon Festivals in the World

Hot air balloons are wonderful inventions that allow people to travel over great distances. This is due primarily to the fact that they can lift themselves into the air by heated air, which has a lower density than ice or water. Since hot air balloons are lighter than cold air, you don’t need an engine unless it’s at a high altitude.

The Hot Air Balloon Festival is a celebration of hot air balloons and their pilots. The event, held in late summer every year, celebrates the history of hot air ballooning. The event features a variety of activities, including showings of hot air ballooning documentaries, live performances by bands and entertainers, balloon rides, and food vendors.

In line with that, you will learn in this article about the ten oldest hot air balloon festivals in the world.

10. Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta

City: Leipzig
Country: Germany
Year Started: 1995
Month of Celebration: July

Saxonia International Balloon Fiestaphoto source: wikimedia.org

The City of Leipzig is a co-organizer of the Fiesta together with a local marketing firm. The initial Balloon Fiesta, a regional celebration in Mügeln in 1995, drew 5000 visitors. The event was transferred in 1996 to “Silbersee,” a recreational resort close to Leipzig.

With the support of the City of Leipzig, a local marketing firm manages the hot air balloon festival in Leipzig. Large corporations and businesspeople support the majority of the hot air balloons. The festival’s schedule is packed with fun activities, including rides, nighttime night glows, mass ascents, hot air balloon flights and contests, and more.

Did You Know?

The third-largest hot-air balloon event in Europe is the Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta.


9. The Hot Air Balloon Festival

City: Clark
Country: Philippines
Year Started: 1994
Month of Celebration: June

photo source: pinimg.com

Only three years had passed after Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption when the event was established by the Department of Tourism under the leadership of then Secretary Mina Gabor.

Before turning the project over to the Hot Air Balloon Club of the Philippines under the direction of Capt. Joy Roa of Air Ads, Inc. in 1999, the regional tourism office under the direction of Regional Director Ronaldo Tiotuico managed the early stages of the project in collaboration with Clark Development Corp. and the local government of Angeles City.

Did You Know?

The festival includes various competitions like skydiving, air rally, kite flying, and concerts that the Filipinos love.


8. Canberra Balloon Spectacular

City: Canberra
Country: Australia
Year Started: 1986
Month of Celebration: March

Canberra Balloon Spectacularphoto source: canberratimes.com

Balloon Aloft Canberra has been doing breathtaking balloon rides above Canberra, the international nation’s capital, for 35 years. Balloon Aloft founded the enduring celebration known as the Canberra Balloon Festival, and it has since taken an active role in it.

Thousands of customers have taken advantage of Balloon Aloft’s safe and comfortable scenic flights above Canberra. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is the organization that issues and regulates Balloon Aloft aircraft operators’ certificates (CASA).

Did You Know?

Numerous accolades from the industry have been given to Balloon Aloft Canberra, including the Australian Tourism Award for Significant Regional Attraction.


7. The Great Reno Balloon Race

City: Reno
Country: United Stated
Year Started: 1981
Month of Celebration: September

The Great Reno Balloon Racephoto source: wikimedia.org

The largest free hot-air ballooning competition in the world is called the Great Reno Balloon Race. You may view a rainbow of hot air balloons floating across the Reno skies for four days in early September.

The Great Reno Balloon Race took flight in 1981 with just 20 balloons, and it has grown to up to 100 balloons today.

Did You Know?

The purpose of organizing this event was to draw tourists to the area over the weekend in between the Reno Air Races and the State Fair. Forty years later, it has become a recognized international event and a much-loved local custom.


6. The Saga International Balloon Fiesta

City: Saga
Country: Japan
Year Started: 1978
Month of Celebration: November

The Saga International Balloon Fiestaphoto source: pinimg.com

The games have been the primary focus of the Saga International Balloon Fiesta since its inception in 1980. It has been conducted with the same level of quality and quantity as past global championships since the 1989 World Championship in Saga. These initiatives are valued globally, attracting top balloonists from around the world to compete yearly.

Each year, 20 to 40 hot air balloons compete in roughly 20 tournaments held in Japan. Roughly 85 hot-air balloons have participated in the Pacific Cup, the primary event of the Saga International Balloon Fiesta, with about 50 of the pilots being Japanese.

Did You Know?

The Saga International Balloon Fiesta is the largest sky sports competition in Asia, both in terms of participants and in terms of the quality of the administration of the games and events that take place there.


5. Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic

City: Decatur
Country: United Stated
Year Started: 1977
Month of Celebration: Memorial Day Weekend

photo source: wikimedia.org

In 1978, 17 balloonists from Alabama and other countries competed in what would become the Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, one of the first such events in the mid-South.

It served as both the official start of Alabama’s tourist season and a display for the brand-new Decatur balloon, one of the first to represent a city. The Jubilee hosts a three-day tournament every year over Memorial Day weekend that draws around sixty pilots from twenty different states.

Did You Know?

The Southeast Tourism Society, located in Atlanta, has designated The Jubilee as one of the Top 20 Southeast Tourism Events for May.


4. The Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festival

City: Glens Falls
Country: United Stated
Year Started: 1973
Month of Celebration: September

The Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festivalphoto source: pinimg.com

Early in the 1970s, Warren County’s tourism and marketing bureau was searching for a concept for an occasion that would draw tourists to the area following Labor Day. Hot air balloons were not very common at that time in the country.

The Adirondack Balloon Festival was established immediately after one of these balloonists, John Marsden of Manchester, Vermont, shared images of his balloon with some forward-thinking Glens Falls locals, notably Walter Grishkot.

Did You Know?

The Weather Channel, Food Network, and media outlets such as the Associated Press and the New York Times have all given the Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festival recognition as one of the Top 100 events in North America.


3. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

City: Albuquerque
Country: United Stated
Year Started: 1973
Month of Celebration: October

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiestaphoto source: pinimg.com

In the Coronado Center Mall parking lot in Albuquerque, 13 balloons were initially gathered in 1972. The biggest ballooning competition in the world was the World Hot Air Balloon Championship, which happened at the New Mexico state fairgrounds with participation from 13 nations.

In the Coronado Center Mall parking lot in Albuquerque, 13 balloons were initially gathered there in 1972. The largest ballooning competition in the world, the “First World Hot Air Balloon Championship,” was staged at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds the following year with participation from 13 nations.

Did You Know?

The annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which lasts nine days and occurs in the first full week of October, features more than 500 hot air balloons.


2. The International Epiphany Balloon Rally

City: Mondovi
Country: Italy
Year Started: 1972
Month of Celebration: between January and February

between January and Februaryphoto source: tourism.ideawebtv.it

The Epiphany International Air Balloon Rally, the first major event on the ballooning calendar, traditionally occurs at the beginning of the New Year and the conclusion of the Christmas season in Mondovi, Italy.

Pilots take off from the appropriately named Balloon Porto airstrip for the hot air balloon festival, which often takes place against the gorgeous background of the Italian Alps. This festival is one of the most popular in the hot air ballooning industry because of the breathtaking views that the Piedmont area offers.

Did You Know?

Up to 50 hot air balloons, including some with different shapes, are usually the highlights of the town during the Epiphany International Air Balloon Rally.


1. The Irish National Hot Air Ballooning Championship

City: Varies
Country: Ireland
Year Started: 1971
Month of Celebration: September

The Irish National Hot Air Ballooning Championshipphoto source: staticflickr.com

The Irish National Hot Air Ballooning Championship has been operating for the longest time and is the oldest hot air balloon festival in the world. A small number of balloons attended the inaugural event, which was held in 1971 at Newcastle House in Ballymahon, Co. Longford.

Regular guests of the festival include balloonists from the UK, the USA, France, Holland, Belgium, Chile, Germany, and Ireland. The event, which is the largest of its kind in Ireland, is a spectacular sight with these enormous, old planes flying in a direction only determined by the wind.

Did You Know?

The Irish Meet is the common name for the Irish Hot Air Ballooning Championships.

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