Culture,  Travel

Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival

Find beauty and excitement in the air and all you have to do is look up! High River is host to the annual Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival. The event features balloons from all over Canada as well as international competitors from as far away as Lithuania and the United Kingdom. The Canadian pilots also compete for the national title during the course of the festival to be crowned top balloonist.

Locals can watch the skies for the balloons as they complete their flights each day and evening (weather permitting of course). A great family event to take the kids to is the Night Glow where all the balloons will be set up on the ground to allow spectators an up close view of the gorgeous baskets and balloons.

I found myself in the ultimate behind-the-scenes view by going up in a hot air balloon for the first time! Hot air ballooning is a fascinating mix of meterology and science to find the perfect combination of wind currents, calm weather, fire and more to fill a balloon into the sky. I am afraid of heights so have to admit that I was a bit scared to go in a balloon. But once you reach the steady floating calm with such amazing views, it’s a truly breath taking experience. Being part of a large group flight makes it so much fun to see all the different colors and shapes in the sky together. Plus it’s tradition for balloonists to drink a champagne toast afterwards which I can always cheers to.

Here are just a few of the views of a beautiful autumn in Alberta.

Balloons being set up on the ground.
Filling up the balloon with cold air to inflate then hot air to make it rise.
Inside the balloon.
The balloons all filling up and getting ready to take flight.
Beautiful Alberta.
Amazing views over Alberta.
We’re all up in the air!
Burn baby burn!
Sunset in the distance.


The festival is now in its 4th year and has grown in increasing popularity each year. This year’s event runs from September 21 – 25, 2016.

Irene Seto is a Calgary lifestyle influencer supporting local from all angles.

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