When I was leaving the shopping centre (which I totally don’t like by the way, shopping) this evening with my family after a nice family dinner, we were surprised to see more than 30 air balloons (in the air of course)… Air balloons are something I see quite regularly, but never in that amount. It was amazing to see! I took some pictures, but I apologize for the quality. A blackberry isn’t always the best option to take pictures… Another excuse to buy an iPhone 😉
My sister said it had something to do with ‘Peace Celebrations’ in Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) or ‘Vredefeesten’ in Dutch. So I looked it up and she was right.
Air balloons flights are part of our history. The first air balloon flight in Sint-Niklaas was in 1845 by Kirsch.
Once the Franco-Prussian War was over in 1870, where the air balloons were used as way to escape, they became very popular. The aëro-club organised lots of air balloon flights before World War I, but once the War was there, the balloons were claimed by the army. Since then the aëro-club suspended every activity.
After World War II, the events with Air Balloons were linked to the ‘commemoration of the liberation’. The first hot air balloons flights were during the ‘liberation celebrations’ in 1970. They changed the name to ‘peace celebrations’ because it does sound more positive.
Nowadays, the ‘Peace Celebrations’ in Sint-Niklaas, are part of the 5 most important air balloons events worldwide. It’s something unique… A must see!