Internationale de montgolfiere balloon festival and country fair
Internationale de montgolfiere balloon festival and country fair Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu Reviews
Aug 09, 2007
Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu is one of many charming towns within an easy 1-1.5 hour drive from Montreal. In August, the international Balloon Festival is a remarkable sight. 100s of hot air balloons launch twice a day... but be prepared to stay at least a few days because the odd launch could be cancelled due to unfavourable wind conditions.
Because of the size of the festival, there are a number of launching areas around the town. Catch the early morning launches by the water. The evening launches are best enjoyed in tandem with the lively fair and concerts (featuring some great Quebec francaphone muscians) near the small airport landing strip.
For a fairly hefty price you can go up with the balloons yourself. Well-worth the money, in my opinion. You can also sign up be on a balloon crew: getting so many balloons off the ground at once takes coordination, and many balloon owners look for help and are willing to train newbies on the ins and outs of launch or chase functions.
But you definitely want to see a launch from the ground as well!
The fair is typical rural Canada, with classic rides and thrills for kids, lots of food stalls, and some great artisan crafts on display.
(Check ou the man who makes leather hats.)
If you don't want to go up in a balloon, you can still see the region from a bird's eye vantage if you sign up for a Cessna flight. The pilots are usually certified trainers, and if you let them know you are interested in flying, some of them will even let you take the controls for a spell.
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