Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta

Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta
The Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta is an annual hot air balloon festival held in the city of Leipzig, Germany. Attracting over 100,000 attendees each year, it is the third-largest event of its kind. Since the inception of the Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta, it has been attended by more than a million people.

The inaugural festival took place in 1995 in a small Saxon town of Mügeln situated between Leipzig and Dresden. It featured 100 hot air balloons and attracted 5,000 attendees. The event was a success so it was decided to hold it annually and relocate the festival to Leipzig the next year. The second festival took place at Erholungspark Lößnig-Dölitz, a local park that was the perfect location for the festival because it lies beyond the official air corridors above Leipzig.

The Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta was held at the park from 1996 to 2011 (with a brief hiatus in 2008). Then it was relocated to Leipziger Festwiese, a large grass field in downtown Leipzig, in 2012 and to a horse race track in Halle (Saale) in 2014.

The hot air balloon festival in Leipzig is organized by a local marketing agency with the assistance of the City of Leipzig. Most of the hot air balloons are sponsored by businessmen and large companies. The program of the festival includes a wide range of entertaining events such as mass ascensions, hot air balloon flights and competitions, rides, evening night glows, and more.

Hot air balloon competitions are among the festival’s main highlights. They include races, fox hunt and key grab. Mass ascensions typically happen in the morning, so one needs to arrive early to see them (note that ballooning is a weather-sensitive activity and thus ascensions and other events sometimes have to be postponed or even canceled). Night Glow is a spectacular nighttime event featuring dozens of glowing hot air balloons, music and a firework display. The Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta also offers balloon rides and walk-in balloons.

The program of the festival also includes entertainment for visitors of all ages, special events for children, parades, musical concerts and other performances, fire shows, and more.

Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta

Photo: Balloon Fiesta




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