The Binh Thuan Province People’s Committee, The Department of Culture, Sports & Tourism and Chien Thang Company Limited had successfully organized Vietnam’s 1st International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (VIHABF) from 27th August 2012 to 3rd September 2012 at Sea Link City of Mui Ne.
This event had attracted more than 50 participations of International balloonist’s and balloon experts from more than 12 countries such as Malaysia, Belgium, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the United States, India, Netherland, Australia and Vietnam.
The opening ceremony was on 27th August 2012 with an appearance of the State Vice President, Mr. Nguyen Thi Doan and three hot air balloons took off during the event. The first balloon was piloted by a Spanish balloonist, Joseph llado and the second balloon belonged to Vietnam and directed by a French balloonist, Gael Cardon. Meanwhile the third balloon was from the Netherland’s and piloted by the cooperation of Swiss and Vietnamese balloonist, Adrian helf and Le Trong Nghia. Mr.Nghia is Vietnam’s youngest balloonist at his age of 29 and he had piloted hot air balloon since year 2004 at the early age of 21.
According to the balloon expert, only 3 balloons could be piloted during the opening day due to the weather factor. The best time to fly the balloon is int the early morning and late evening. Tropical weather can harm the balloon handler if they want to fly the balloon in the afternoon because of the hot weather. Flying with hot balloon is always safe but the pilot needs to be careful especially during takeoff and landing.
In Vietnam, people did use hot balloon’s for military purpose during late 18th and early 19th century. The colourful balloon is to symbolize the friendship, peace and cooperation during the war time. This first event also managed to attract thousands of local and international visitors to Binh Thuan province, particularly to Mui Ne. During this event, there are were total of 17 balloon performances and the balloons came with various sizes and shapes such as giant shopping bag by Cliff Resort and Residence, Coke Bottle, Golden pig, Elephant shape, Golden cat and typical round shape.
Besides, there are were some miscellaneous air show such as paragliding, paramotor, ultralight craft and gliders too. There were many booths selling some souvenirs and foods as well which were located at the same site of the event where the visitor is not only coming to view the balloon, but also to buy something and enjoy the foods here.
This event also was celebrated to the 67th anniversary of National Day of Vietnam on 2nd September 2012 and the 20th anniversary of Binh Thuan province’s re-establishment. There are were other events at Nguyen Dinh Chieu streets which is called as Binh Thuan Foods festival at night time with foods stalls and cultural shows during the anniversary celebration.