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A sky full of hot air ballons from all over the world

Pilots from countries like Japan, Israel, England and Netherlands participate in Igualada’s European festival

06 July 2017 07:37 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

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Some 55 hot air balloons from all over the world took off on Thursday morning, opening the 21st edition of the European Balloon Festival (EBF) in the Catalan city of Igualada, located in the interior of Catalonia. Pilots from countries like Japan, Israel, England and the Netherlands were among those taking part in the festival that lasts until Sunday. One of the festival’s main attractions is the Night Glow Pyro Music show, the lighting up of a night balloon.

Japanese pilot and 2014 world champion, Yudai Fujita, was participating for the first time in the international balloon festival, and he expressed his delight in taking part and said that he is fond of the Catalan pilots’ style, as they are always happy. Furthermore, he stressed that he is glad to be in Catalonia because of “the many beautiful places to visit.” According to the former world champion, the competition is also of a high level.

This 21st edition has attracted a record turnout. During four days of competitions, a total of six competitive flights will take place, including one in which participants have to chase a kind of a pace-setting balloon and another in which balloons have to get as close as possible to a bullseye.

One of the main events is the Vol de Ciutat, which is to be held on Friday morning and which consists of a simultaneous launch of around 20 balloons from different spots in Igualada. Among the most unique is one featuring Stuart the Minion –a character in the popular film ‘The Minions’– as well as two owls and a lion. “It’s beautiful so far, I wanted to see the Minions, balloons, and I’m happy now,” Fujita told ACN while on a balloon.

The show kicked off on Thursday with the first take-off in  Igualada’s new Central Park, the 25,000 square-meter space acting as an airfield these days. According to local authorities, the fact it is a grassy area has attracted “more pilots than ever”, as the people performing had for a long time demanded a surface suitable for spreading out the balloon fabric.  

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  • Balloons in the European Balloon Festival

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