Hot Air Balloon Festivals

Over the years the 4-flight hot air balloon group has flown at hot air ballooning festivals and fiesta in the UK and Europe including France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia, Spain, Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg.

On this page we list some of the hot air balloon festivals that we either have particularly liked, or those that we would like to attend in the near future. Most of these are annual events so where possible we have also provided future hot air balloon festival dates for the coming year. If you like to have your own festival added, or have information relating to any of the listed hot air ballooning events, then please contact us!

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque, USA

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Dates: Usually in October

For nine days in October, the New Mexico skies are painted as hundreds of balloons lift off from Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta Park. Nothing rivals the power of Mass Ascension on crisp early mornings as these graceful giants leave the ground to take their place in the cerulean desert sky. For ballooning fans worldwide, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a pilgrimage. There's something for everyone to enjoy . . . whimsical special shapes filled with equal parts of hot air and wonder, and Balloon Glows that create a magical night landscape for spectators to wander. No matter who you are, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta® will leave you awestruck and wanting more.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Icicle Hot Air Balloon Festival

Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK

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Dates: Usually first weekend of the year.

The Meet is informal, un-sponsored and open to all hot air balloonists. As usual we will be running a farmers draw and will be looking for a donation of £15 in cash or kind, per hot air balloon at the first briefing, or £10 in advance (see our pre-booking "Save a Fiver" offer).

The First International Icicle Hot Air Balloon Meet was held at Marsh Benham, Newbury, on 6th/7th January 1973, the first weekend in the New Year being the permanent date for this event.

James and Fiona Liddiard have hosted the Icicle Meet at Warren Farm every year since 1993 and Mike Drye has been in charge of the overall organisation since 1988.

Additional details from Icicle Hot Air Balloon Meet

KillarneyHot Air Balloon Meet

South-west Ireland

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Dates: not known

This event was first run in 2006.

Additional details from Phil Dunnington.

European Hot Air Balloon Festival

Igualada, Spain

Dates: Usually in July.

The town of Igualada, located about 31 miles (50km) inland from Barcelona. Large numbers of spectators are expected to watch as the sky is filled with a wonderfully colourful display of hot air balloons from around the world. Market stalls are set up to complete the festive atmosphere of one of the biggest ballooning events in Europe. For more information phone +34 (0)93 804 2202 or email jm@ultramagic.com

Castle Howard Fly-Out Hot Air Balloon Festival

Castle Howard, Yorkshire, UK

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Dates: Usually July.

The construction of Castle Howard took more than 100 years before it could be said to have been finally completed, and spanned the lifetime of three earls and numerous architects and craftsmen. As the house was built and decorated so the grounds were filled with lakes, temples, monuments and a grand mausoleum. A thriving estate grew up encompassing several villages and acres of farmland. Indoors, furniture, paintings, sculptures and a host of other treasures were assembled by successive generations after their tours of the Continent.

We have heard many good things about this event but have never attended, perhaps you could let us know if you have.

Mondial Air Balloon Festival

Chambley Air Base, Lorraine, France

Dates: Biannually in late summer.

The famous bi-annual 7 day festival is based on the former training base of astronaut John Collins. The area around Chambley is very rural and accommodation options are limited. Both nearby camp-sites fill up very quickly so it is worth booking them early. They may ask for a deposit.

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2005 Verdict:
We booked our camp-site at Jaulny. The organization is always friendly but frequently chaotic. The weather was not a favourable as in previous years, but in between the thunderstorms and rain we managed 6 flights in total. The post flight pizzas in nearby (only) café in Jaulny, were as good as usual!

Westcountry or Tavistock Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Tavistock, Devon, UK

Dates: Usually August

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Now in its 14th year. Organized by Tavistock Lions Club and Tavistock Round Table, the event is run entirely in aid of charity by a team of dedicated volunteers. It has become firmly established in the Westcountry events calendar and is featured heavily on television, radio and in the news media - one of the most high profile events of the summer, drawing crowds from across the Westcountry.

This is a very friendly event with excellent flying. This fiesta was first started under the guidance of Paul Spellward the event has grown from its early days, where a few hot air balloonists would camp at the local school. Pasties in abundance.

For more information click here.

Zippo Hot Air Ballon Cup 2005

Borken, Westfalen , Germany

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Dates: Usually August

Now in its 7th year with excellent flying near the German / Dutch border. 2004 saw excellent weather with over 70 hot air balloon across Europe attending the event which starts on Thursday evening. The entrance fee to the event for hot air balloon teams is 60 € and includes free propane for the duration. There is a night glow scheduled for both Friday and Saturday evenings. For an additional 75 € meals for a crew of four can be included. The event is limited to about 70 hot air balloons so early entry is recommended.

We are planning to go to the 2006 event.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Bristol, England, UK

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Dates: Usually the second weekend in August.

The 2006 Preliminary Bristol Balloon Fiesta Program:
* Thursday 10th August - 6.00 pm 'Special Shapes' launch and tether
* Friday 11th August - 6.00 am and 6.00 pm
* Saturday 12th August - 6.00 am and 6.00 pm
* Sunday 13th August - 6.00 am and 6.00 pm

Note: All balloon launches are subject to weather conditions.

The Bristol Balloon Fiesta is our local event on the door step of our pilots and crew. Set in the rolling parkland of Ashton Court Estate in Bristol, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta features mass hot air balloon launches of over 100 hot air balloons, plus a wealth of family entertainment.

Take-off is from the council owned Ashton Court, flying out over the city on the prevailing westerly winds. We have been flying from here for the past ten years, but would rate it as the most difficult event that we attend. Landowners near Bristol have long since become tired of their uninvited guest and problems, although not frequent, are regular.

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Throw in the Severn Estuary to the west and expanding Bristol International Airport to the south west and a sprawling city to the east, flying is challenging at the best of times at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Minimum recency requirement is usually around the 15 hours mark in the last year. The event has also lost some of it charm from its early days as it has now grown to a major outdoor event attracting pop groups on Fridays and two Night glows.

2004 Verdict:
First time in ten years that we did not attend the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Instead we sat in the grass and watched the Saturday mass launch.

2005 Verdict:
Three flights in total for us on Friday evening (to Lansdown Racecourse, Bath), Saturday morning (Whitfiled School) and Sunday evening (Pensford), which for a Bristol Balloon Fiesta was pretty good. Lots of flying on Friday morning as well for those not working.

The night glow of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta on Saturday had very windy weather but was a success none the less and the fireworks were very spectacular. A great event this year and no nonsense briefings by Clive Baily were a change from the usual "lets review the weather in 1 hour syndrome at other hot air balloon meets."

Caerphilly Hot Air Balloon Festival

Caerphilly, Wales, UK

Dates: Not known.

The Big Balloon Festival as it is known, is the finale to Caerphilly county borough council's exciting summer events program. Hot Air Balloons of all shapes, sizes and colours gather at the Blackwood Showfields over the August Bank Holiday weekend. The festival has something to offer all the family, including spectacular mass hot air balloon launches, colourful performances from a variety of street entertainers, live music and white knuckle rides on the funfair. The highlight of the weekend is the night glow and fireworks display, which takes place on the Saturday evening and attracts thousands of people.

The Big Balloon Festival is a FREE event with 35,000 people expecting this year.

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A great chance to fly in the Welsh Valleys. Night glow & firework display Saturday PM. Event in its 3rd year hosted by Caerphilly County & Borough Council who is keen to welcome balloonists to the area to experience Welsh hospitality. Press flight and balloonist package including competitions and prizes, free gas, improved camping facilities and accommodation deals. Assistance package of £50 available for first 10 private entries.

Fire and Snow Hot Air Balloon Festival

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Mauternsdorf, Austria

Dates: Mid January

Limited to 40 teams. Another event of which we have heard good things.

Relaxed flying in Mauterndorf. Entry is by invitation only from M. Haggeney.