Despite the rainy weather we've been getting throughout the summer hundreds of thousands of people (350,000 estimated by the organizers) still made their way over to the Montgolfières at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. The lure of the balloons, carnival rides, petting zoo, inflatable games, food, and great shows every night was too much to resist.
Out of a possible 18 flights balloons went up 11 times. Not bad considering our summer. No matter how many times I go to this event the sight of the balloons taking to the sky continues to take my breath away. The multitude of colours and shapes is something to see. Montgolfières also gives you the opportunity (for a fee) to take a ride in a balloon. If it is within your means, please, I highly recommend that you do it! It will be like nothing you ever felt/experienced before and the closest you will get to feeling like you are flying.
Each night there were great concerts happening from the country legend Kenny Rogers to America to Tokio Hotel and Canadian rock band Hedley. The shows, which are included in your low $15 entrance fee, along attract thousands of people as I can attest the night I went see Hedley and Tokio Hotel there were more than 20,000 people watching the concert. There was a style of music for every taste with country, rock, easy listening, and francophone music being represented. Kudos have to be given to the organizers for the great sound and excellent video screens at the site for the shows.
It is a great family event. Everyone, no matter what age, can find something they appreciate or have fun doing at the festival. Not only aiming to be a fun day for the entire family, the event also contributes some of its profits to the Club des Petits Dejeuners du Quebec ($55,000) and different organizations working with families and youth in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu ($15,000). A classy move by a good community member.
Even though this festival is getting a little older it demonstrated to everyone that it still knows how to have a good time! It is the most important balloon festival in Canada and with years like this will continue to be. See you back in Saint-Jean next year!
Photos by Maha Haddad