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The Largest Hot Air Balloon Festivals In The World

Aug 17, 2007
There are hundreds of hot air balloon festivals held throughout the year, all over the world. These events are a great way to spend a weekend and learn more about the sport. They also give balloonists a chance to participate in balloon races and display their balloons during evening balloon glows. When hundreds of balloons are gathered in one place, it's a very impressive sight! So what are some of the largest events? Here is a list:

US National Hot Air Balloon Championship (BFA): Thirty to forty hot air balloon pilots from throughout the United States gather in July every year to participate in the highly competitive Balloon Federation of America (BFA) Hot Air Balloon National Championship. Sanctioned and sponsored by the Balloon Federation of America, a number of morning and evening flights are scheduled throughout the event. Participating balloonists compete for over $15,000 in cash and prizes, and a position on the United States World Team, which represents the Balloon Federation of America in the annual World Hot Air Balloon Championship.

For more than 40 years, the Balloon Federation of America has sanctioned and administered hot air and gas balloon competitions throughout the United States. Competitors are judged in a variety of ways, including the maneuvering of a seven story high balloon in three dimensions, dealing with the unknowns of wind and terrain, reaching pre-determined targets and completing assigned flight tasks.

National Balloon Classic Indianola, Iowa: For 37 years, this event has taken place in the Midwest. The 2006 Balloon Classic wrapped up in August of this year. The 2007 Classic will be held July 27th through August 4th. It's a huge event with hundreds of balloons, thousands of people and lots of media coverage.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an incredible event, with over 700 hot air balloons taking flight in the October sky. For more than three decades, the first week in October brings the beautiful, magical escapade of hot air balloons gliding effortlessly through the New Mexico sky. Guests from all over the world come to Albuquerque to celebrate this event. The 2006 event ran from October 6 through 15. How big is the 78 acre launch field? Picture 54 football fields put together.

It started in 1972 with 13 balloons, which launched from a shopping mall parking lot. Since then, the Balloon Fiesta has grown to multiple events launching year-round at the custom-designed, 365-acre Balloon Fiesta Park. The signature event remains the Balloon Fiesta, a truly spectacular human endeavor. How spectacular? Consider this:

* Its the largest hot air ballooning event on earth
* Its the most photographed event on earth
* Its the largest annual international event held in the United States.

Other large events take place at the National Balloon Rally Statesville, North Carolina and the World Hot Air Balloon Championship Varies (Tochigi, Japan in 2006).
About the Author
(c) 2006 California Dreamin, offers hot air balloon rides and biplane rides since 1977. Featuring sunrise flights in the Temecula valley wine country and sunset flights over the Del Mar coastal valley. To take a flight, contact http://www.californiadreamin.com/ or (800) 373-3359
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