The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is one of my favourite annual events in Canberra. I never get tired of the sight and sound of hot air balloons flying over the city and for the time the festival is on, there’s a fleet of over 25 balloons studding the sunrise painted sky like floating jewels.
Every year there are some special guest balloons, in years past there has been a beagle, a frog, a unicorn and this year, the main attraction was Tico the sloth, a 33.5m behemoth whose motto, Don’t Hurry, Be Happy, is advice much of the world should take note of.
I can’t help but feel that if the Canberra Balloon Spectacular was held in any other city in Australia, it would be commercialised to within an inch of its life and draw huge, pushy crowds. Perhaps the joy of it being held in our much maligned capital is that mostly locals attend and the vibe is as relaxed as the pace of the balloons.
If you’ve never been before, the balloons begin to inflate from the slightly anti-social hour of 6:15am. They start to lift off around 7am. The launch site is usually in the area around the National Library although the weather can mean they are moved elsewhere. The balloons almost always seem to be carried by south easterlies which take them over the National Museum and toward the Arboretum