European Balloon Festival

European Balloon Festival
The European Balloon Festival (EBF) is one of the largest hot air balloon festivals in Europe and the largest event of its kind in Spain. It is held in early July in the Catalan city of Igualada. The city was chosen to host the festival because it is home to Ultramagic, the second largest manufacturer of hot air balloons in the world. The company is one of the organizers of the European Balloon Festival.

The European Balloon Festival was founded in 1997 and has been held every summer since. Originally it ran concurrently with the Aerosport airshow as part of the Igualada Air Week, but in 2008 Aerosport was moved to spring. Since its inception, the festival has grown to become the largest hot air balloon festival in Spain and South Europe. It features about 60 pilots from around the world and attracts approximately 25,000 attendees every year.

The festival runs over four days in early July, Thursday to Sunday. Its program includes mass ascensions, a hot air balloon competition, spectacular night glows, balloon rides, exhibitions, various attractions for kids and adults alike, and more.

Competition and exhibition flights take place early in the morning and late in the afternoon because of the optimal weather conditions. The winner of the competition receives a trophy designed by the Catalan designer Xavier Vives. Along with flights, the European Balloon Festival also offers hot air balloon rides for an additional fee. Note that flights should be booked in advance.

One of the main highlights of the festival is the night glow. As soon as it gets dark, the pilots inflate their balloons and ignite the burners. Then the balloons perform a spectacular choreographed routine, dancing to the music like giant Chinese lanterns. The night glow is followed by a fireworks display. It’s an event you shouldn’t miss!

Along with balloon-related events, the program of the European Balloon Festival includes various attractions and activities in the Fun Zone and the Village Zone. Some of the most exciting events (concerts, exhibitions, readings, presentations, workshops, etc.) are held in the so-called Wind Igloos (Iglú de Vent). This is an initiative of a company that makes installations from old hot air balloons. These installations serve as venues for all kinds of events during the festival.

European Balloon Festival

Photo: daxtoor




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