How it all got started

Brothers Joseph and Ettienne Montgolfier from France were the first to launch a hot air balloon into the sky back in 1783. The brothers loaded up the balloon with a sheep, a rooster and a duck. The first recorded manned flight occurred a couple months after the barnyard creature's flight. On November 21st, 1783, the Montgolfier brothers inflated their hot air balloon made out of paper and silk for two men from the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Their balloon rose 500 feet above Paris buildings and drifted towards the French countryside. Many Local farmers feared that something evil was about to descend upon their vineyards. Fortunately, one of the two pilots held a bottle of champagne out from their balloon and proclaimed he was just like them and for them not to be afraid; a new tradition was created.

So much has changed since The Brothers first launched their barnyard filled basket into the heavens. Nowadays, a multitude of specialty shaped balloons rise up in the sky. Ironically even a barnyard shaped balloon graces the skies (this balloon is part of this year's edition of The International Montgolfieres in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu). The balloons of today are constructed of polyurethane coated nylon (rip-stop nylon), a very secure material.

At The St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu Balloon Festival balloons are restricted from rising higher than 5,000 feet from the ground. Today there are thousands of registered hot air balloon pilots throughout the world. Hot air balloons are the safest mode of aerial transportations. If you have never flown in a gorgeous hot air balloon, here's your opportunity; The St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu Balloon Festival is less than an hours drive south of Montreal.

St-Jean-sur-Richelieu International Balloon Festival
August 12-20, 2006

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