LEON, Mexico – Balloonists from 23 countries are taking to the sky this weekend in 200 hot air balloons at the 15th International Balloon Festival in Leon, Mexico.
“The festival is considered prestigious around the world, the pilots return (to their countries) very happy and recommend that people come here, and we’ve been present with our flagship balloon in many countries, allowing us to position ourselves,” the event’s director, Escandra Salim, told EFE.
This year’s festival drew balloonists from Japan, Croatia and Lithuania, among other countries, Salim said.
The balloonists start preparing for flight at dawn in Leon’s Parque Metropolitano, checking weather conditions and starting the process of inflating the balloons.
“We’ve grown about 1,700 percent since the start. (The festival) is completely established as the biggest event (of its type) in Mexico,” Salim said.
Organizers expect 500,000 visitors to attend this year’s festival, which ends on Monday.