The 27th edition of the International Balloon Festival held in St. Jean-sur-Richelieu reached new heights this year and I don't mean by the balloons in the sky. This year a record 400,000 visitors passed through their gates to partake in the nine day festival. Something that should reassure the organizers of the event that: a) it is still relevant and b) even in these days of tight wallets and a wide variety of ways to spend money people still choose to come to the International Balloon Festival.
Besides the magnificent, multi-coloured and multi-shaped balloons the big pulls were the inflatable games, the amusement park and musical acts like Adam Lambert and Akon. On opening night approximately 70,000 people took in all or a part of Adam Lambert's show. I was there and can attest to the fact that the crowd was huge (thank god for those huge screens on either side of the stage)! This was one of the biggest opening nights ever. Akon, showing that he is a trooper, put on a great show despite the constant rain that fell during it.
The 115 balloons at the festival from Canada, the U.S., France, and Brazil were quite a sight to behold in the sky when they managed to take off. Due to the weather they were only able to fly 10 times during the nine days. But I'm sure who ever took rides in them are now hot air balloon fans. It is quite a breathtaking experience.
This Gold Prize winner at the last Grand Prix du Tourisme Quebecois is the largest gathering of balloons in the country. And looks to be a serious contender for a prize again this year.
I hope to see you all at the 28th edition of the festival next year from August 13 – 21, 2011 in St. Jean-sur-Richelieu.