Hot Air Balloon Takeoff

Hot Air Balloon Fills the Sky in Mexico

Dozens of hot air balloons filled the Guanajuato skyline with splashes of colour in central Mexico on Friday (November 15) with an array of colours and shapes, ranging from the traditional teardrop to princess carriages.

Pilots fired up their balloons to carry them high above the Metropolitan Ecological Park of Leon in the 12th annual Leon International Balloon Festival.

Over the past decade, the festival has brought together almost two million people, according to organisers.

The festival’s director, Escandra Salim, said the festival sought to bring tourism to the industrial city of Leon, which is known primarily for selling leather goods and shoes.

“It’s a marvelous event. An incredible spectacle. We have seen a princess carriage fly today. We have also seen different special figures, 200 balloons from 15 countries. We are happy that you are with us.”

Balloonists came from all over for the event. Logan Belford is from Tennessee in the United States.

“Oh it’s wonderful, that’s what makes us come back again, is seeing all the people who love the balloons and being able to put on a show for all the people. We love the Mexican people to come out, the Spanish people,” he said.

Marcela is a visitor from Celaya in Mexico.

“The truth is I came with some friends because we have always heard the balloon fair is a very nice experience and it’s wonderful seeing them take off – and more now before dawn.”

Brothers Joseph-Michel and Jaques-Etienne Montgolfier were the pioneers of hot air ballooning, making their first flight in 1783 using a spherical bag made of linen wrapped in paper full of hot air, reaching an altitude of almost 2,000 metres.

In 1842, in Mexico, Don Benito Leon Acosta achieved lift-off on a hot air balloon he built himself, floating from his hometown of Guanajuato to Rio Verde, San Luis Potosi. The feat made him a national hero in Mexico.

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