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The best hot air balloon events still to come in 2013

2013 looks set to be another buoyant year for hot air ballooning, with many exciting festivals and balloon events coming up in the months ahead. A hot air balloon festival can provide a memorable day out, with many big events offering entertainment for the whole family. Balloon events give visitors the chance to obtain a close view of the inflation and launching process, and an insight into how hot air balloons operate. Some festivals also offer the opportunity to go up in a balloon, adding a magical experience to the fun and interest of the day. Summer balloon festivals offer a superb family day out In Devon, from July 12th to 14th, the Tiverton Balloon Festival is promising an even greater show than in previous years, with live music, comedy, vintage aeroplanes and a mountain bike stunt display team. Camping is possible on site and visitors can enjoy sampling the produce inside a food and drinks pavilion, before watching a stunning fire and light balloon show in the evening. More than 30 hot air balloons will be soaring into the skies, including half a dozen with unusual shapes. Also in July, the Great Texas Balloon Race takes place from the 26th to the 28th of the month. Renowned throughout the world as one of the top events, this race attracts the best balloon pilots from all over the US. As well as its competitive events, the Texas meet provides evening balloon displays, music, craft stalls and a children's area. August brings the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, which will be held at Ashton Court Estate between the 8th and 11th of the month. Several mass balloon launches are planned, along with fireworks, night glows, dancing and the chance for visitors to take a balloon ride themselves. More than 150 hot air balloons will be seen at this huge event, which is the largest of its kind in Europe. Carnival rides, food, music and other entertainment will be on offer and a campsite is available for those who want to stay overnight. For those in Germany, the Mosel Balloon Fiesta is a wonderful experience, filled with spectacular balloon and light displays, a variety of stalls and opportunities to try the famous wines of the region. The Fiesta is held from the 16th to the 18th of August at the Trier Region Industrial Park. Ballooning into September and beyond The Canadian Hot Air Balloon Championships take place in Alberta from September 25th to the 29th. This competition involves balloon pilots completing a series of manoeuvres as accurately as possible, dropping markers on to targets as they pass. There is also a speed contest, where the winner completes a set distance in the shortest time. Spectators are invited to bring a picnic. Later in the year, the Japanese Saga International Balloon Festival will be held, from October 31st to November 4th. During the festival, competition flights will take place between balloon pilots from all over the world. There is also a special day planned for children, with novelty balloons, and a hands-on balloon school for visitors.

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