Get a bird's eye view of Ottawa at the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival
- Canada Travel Tips
- Wednesday, 27 June 2012 00:56
Travellers who love aviation and want to try out a thrilling form of flight can make plans for the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival at the end of the summer. If visitors are taking tours of Ottawa from August 31 to September 3, they can head across the Ottawa River to the city of Gatineau for this exciting gathering of balloonists as they show off their equipment and are celebrated by the community.
History of Gatineau's hot air balloon festival
The hot air balloon event launched in 1988 to the delight of guests and locals that featured close to 50 balloons and more than 30,000 spectators. Over the years, the festival has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to participate in balloon rides, watch dozens of the balloons float together in the air and attend some great concerts and activities. Officials are confident the weather will hold out this year and make for a fantastic showing of the art of flight.
The main event, of course, is the display of hot air balloons. There will be several lift-off times during the day where all the participating balloons will either participate in tethered or free-flight demonstrations. They represent various countries and can take all sorts of forms, from the classic tear-drop shape to bees, bears, dogs or various cartoon characters. Sunday night balloons will be a part of Night Glow, which is an evening launch when the massive inflatables are illuminated. With a special wristband, travellers can reserve a spot on one of the balloons during these launches or at different intervals throughout the day to try their hand at learning about and navigating their own flight.
Ride a ferris wheel, go to a concert or see art come to life
Alongside these attractions are some exciting shows planned to delight audiences of all ages. On the main Loto-Quebec stage, visitors can see KC and the Sunshine Band and country-folk singer Isabelle Boulay perform live. Other areas will feature family friendly music, local artists and even a fireworks display in the evening.
Some of the interactive activities include a live graffiti art contest, amusement park rides and a section full of handmade goods for purchase offered by local crafters and artisans.