The oldest form of successfully taking people from one place to another is the hot air balloon. The very first balloon was made by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783. The first passengers were not people, but animals. A duck, a rooster, and a sheep were the very first to fly in a hot air balloon. It was a demonstration and flew only 480 meters. The first human to fly was Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier and the balloon was attached to the ground. Marquis Francois d’Arlandes and Pilatre de Rozier took the first free flight in November 1783.
Many people travel a long distance to partake in a balloon festival. Not only the people who are excited about the ride, but the pilots, grounds people, sightseers, and those that may set up booths on the ground, all travel to different balloon festivals each year. The public can join in on activities like races and watch the “night glows”, which is when the pilots light up the balloons while still being tethered to the ground. The public can also have rides in the balloons.
Some of the festivals have special shaped balloons. The non-traditional balloons are launched all at the same time. The most famous shapes that have hit the festivals lately are the milk cow, twin bee’s, elephant shapes, wagon coach, different animals, and even a soda can. Families love to watch how the different size and shaped balloons take off into the air.
The largest balloon fiesta is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is an international balloon festival and has an average of 600 balloons and 1000 pilots. It all started in 1972 with just 13 balloons. Today it is the largest international balloon festival. By 1978 the festival grew to have 273 entries from around the world. In 2000, the organizers registered over 1000 balloons. The festival now has a permanent location which is over 350 acres where they can take off from each year.
Travelers looking for a fun filled weekend in the Napa Valley area will find some of the best, and well-known hot air balloon experiences to be found anywhere. The valley has the most experienced pilots and staff to make their guests comfortable. With the safest balloon fleet and wine celebration after the flight, guests will enjoy a most memorable experience. Guests will see the vineyards and wineries from a long distance up and enjoy the early morning breeze. You will be carried away smoothly down corridors of grapes.
Guests will be at ease knowing they are with the most talented staff that are local to the community and highly trained. The staff wants to make the trip enjoyable at all times and an experience that each guest will cherish for a lifetime. You will want to fly knowing that your pilot has years of experience in aviation and the staff is well versed at taking care of their guests. Guests can enjoy hot air ballooning in the Sonoma and Napa areas and enjoy fine dining and wine tasting as well. They can make a day trip or stay for the weekend and enjoy all sorts of entertainment.