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Biggest balloon festival in Portugal returns to Alto Alentejo

The skies of Alto Alentejo will become more colorful, starting Monday, with the return of the largest festival of hot air balloons held in Portugal, involving 35 teams from seven European countries, was released today.

Promoted by Publibalão, with the collaboration of Alentejo without Borders – Ballooning Club, the 22nd edition of the International Hot Air Balloon Festival will run until the 11th of this month in the counties of Fronteira, Avis, Campo Maior, Monforte and Ponte de Sor, in the district of Portalegre.

“Our expectations are always the best. The weather is going to be good to fly, except on the first day [Monday], which is predicted to be somewhat unstable,” said Maria Inês Soares, one of the organizers.

This year, the event will count on the participation of 35 teams from Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Luxembourg.

In addition to holding captive flights, the festival has to offer free flights daily (the usual balloon trips).

“One of the attractions is scheduled for 9th of this month, at 5:00 p.m., at Ponte de Sor Municipal Aerodrome, where a take-off will take place (captive flight) and we will have a plane doing aerobatics around the balloon,” said.

During the 22nd International Hot Air Balloon Festival, the flights will be associated with solidarity campaigns in favor of the firefighters of the adhering councils and the association Coração Delta.

In addition to captive and free flights, the festival will count on Saturday with a Night Glow in Ponte de Sor.

The Night Glow is a nightly show in which the pilots prepare their balloons as if they were to take off, but they remain stuck a few meters off the ground, where the flames released by the burners create a visual spectacle.

The organization had predicted that the festival would begin this weekend, in Lisbon, in Praça do Império, but for meteorological reasons, delayed the initiative in the capital for the 17 of this month, at 18:00.

In Lisbon, the organization of the festival will offer everyone who wants to participate in ascents and descents in a balloon and a spectacle of light, color and sound in a hot air balloon.

The International Hot Air Balloon Festival, the largest and oldest of its kind in Portugal, has its roots in the district of Portalegre, and served as a base for the opening in 2012 of the country’s first school for hot air balloon pilots, in Fronteira.

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