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TravelThis trend is getting hot! Adventurous American ballooning experiences

This trend is getting hot! Adventurous American ballooning experiences

A symbol of adventure, imagination, and love, hot air balloons have been traveling our skies since 1783 when the Montgolfier brothers designed the first documented paper and silk balloon which flew over Paris on November, 21st 1783 manned by Francois Pilatrê de Rozier and Francois Laurent, Marquis of Arlanders. And although hot air ballooning has truly never fallen out of fashion, ballooning has hit the pop culture stage again, trending through the event and design communities and making cameo’s on “hot” television shows like the Regency inspired, infamous Season 3 of Bridgerton. 

Season 3 Episode 3 showcases the romance and spectacle of ballooning that swept across Europe during the Regency period as Colin Bridgerton, played by actor Luke Newton, valiantly saves the day anchoring an escaped hot air balloon and becoming the talk of the Queen’s “Innovation Ball”. Whether a fan of the Netflix hit or not, ballooning as an experience trend can be found in every travel guide, on many travel shows, webcasts and podcasts, and easily noticed while scrolling popular sources like Pinterest, Instagram and Tik Tok.

The historical relevance of ballooning made its way to North America in 1793 with the first manned flight of a hydrogen gas balloon piloted by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard on January 9th, 1793 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Not to be outdone by the French court, American icon George Washington celebrated and observed the American launch himself.

Beyond the history lesson, ballooning is a decadent activity for couples and families to enjoy. Ballooning represents adventure in a way many travel activities do not. An always exclusive experience as no two balloon rides will ever be the same. The birds-eye scenery, the colors of the sunset or sunrise as the wind carries riders among the clouds is hard to replicate. And as those who have had the pleasure of experiencing the launch of these majestic carriages of the sky will share, the magic of ballooning is felt not just from the skies, but from spectators as well. 

“When hot air balloons fill the sky, the view from our earthly perspective becomes enchanted and we can’t take our eyes away. We wonder how those giant balloons fly, where they are going, where they will land. Seeing a balloon fly for the first time is truly memorable.” shares Kristie Darling, President of Big Oh! Balloons. 

American festivals, art exhibitions, private and corporate events continue to celebrate and innovate ballooning, its traditions traveling from coast to coast. Experience the adventure and romance of ballooning by adding these events to your 2024 travel itinerary. 

Set against the majestic backdrop of the Pike Peak region, the Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off being hosted August 31st through September 2nd connects attendees with the natural beauty of Colorado. This 3-day event offers several activities including sunrise hot air balloon flights, live musical entertainment and street performers, local food and drink vendors, hiking, fishing and paddle boarding as balloons dance over Prospect Lake, a 5K race and evening balloon glows. More than a balloon festival, the Labor Day Lift Off encourages attendees to spend time enjoying Downtown Colorado Springs and regional hotspots like the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, Pikes Peak, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and the Cripple Creek or Cog Railways.

Carolina BalloonFest wants to dazzle you with barbecue and balloons over the Carolina midlands

Dripping with Americana and Southern hospitality, The Carolina BalloonFest is a relaxed event that will be hosted October 18th through the 20th in Statesville, North Carolina. The festival features hot air balloon morning competitions, mass ascensions, tethered balloon rides and evening balloon glows. Attendees will also enjoy live entertainment on two stages, eat street concessions, enjoy a marketplace and artisan village, local wine and beer vendors, plus aerialist circus performances and skydiving exhibitions. The Carolina BalloonFest hosted by National Balloon Rally Charities, Inc. also serves as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, donating a portion of its proceeds annually to local nonprofits and organizations.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a 9-day festival being hosted October 5th through the 13th in scenic Albuquerque, New Mexico featuring signature mass ascensions of 550 hot air balloons and 100+ special shaped hot air balloons representing 16 countries. The 360-acre Balloon Fiesta Park also hosts the signature Twilight Twinkle Glow™, Balloon Glow, and Night Magic Glow™ which feature hundreds of hot air balloons in static display, lighting up the night sky. Now popular across the United States, the twilight inflations known as “balloon glows” were invented in Albuquerque in 1979 by local pilots. The Balloon Fiesta launched its first official Balloon Glow in 1987 and continues the tradition yearly with each glow launch followed by spectacular fireworks displays.

These are just a small example of the balloon events and experiences that can be found across America. Other popular events frequented by balloon enthusiasts include The Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival in Winchester, California, The Great Reno Balloon Race in Reno, Nevada and the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning in Readington, New Jersey. 

Ballooning creates an excellent travel experience for families, couples and groups alike. With events suited to every taste, location and travel need, finding the right balloon filled adventure is simply a web search away.

Anna Marie Imbordino

Anna Marie Imbordino is an award-winning communication artist from Charleston, SC. Her love of history and the arts keeps her traveling, looking to experience not just the places, but the people who create our story.

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