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The desert sky was awash with color as 25 hot air balloons inflated and rose into the sky. Spectators had traveled from across the country to witness this sight, and were thrilled to walk right onto the field and watch as each balloon would inflate and lift off.

More than 20,000 spectators attended this year’s Arizona Balloon Classic – the state’s premier hot air balloon race and festival. And between the inflatables in the family fun zone, the tethered hot air balloon flights, retail shopping, commercial exhibits and local food stands set up across the grounds, there was more than enough to keep that many entertained. Though the most popular attractions were obviously the balloons themselves.

While the festival began early morning offering tethered balloon flights throughout the day, we visited in the late afternoon to witness the “desert glow” – imagine a field full of illuminated, tethered, hot air balloons glowing in time to music against the backdrop of a spectacular desert sunset.

These are our photos from the 2015 Arizona Balloon Classic – if you find yourself in Phoenix in 2016, be sure not to miss the festival and it’s many events!

Arizona Balloon Classic

Balloons in all shapes and sizes!

Arizona Balloon Classic

Color filled the sky.

Arizona Balloon Classic

Fitting for an Arizona Festival!

Arizona Balloon Classic

All smiles at the AZ Balloon Classic!

Arizona Balloon Classic

AZ Balloon Classic is heating up!

Arizona Hot Air Balloon Classic

Arizona Hot Air Balloon Classic

Arizona Hot Air Balloon Classic

Illuminated by the balloon!

Arizona Hot Air Balloon Classic

Spectacular desert sunset

Arizona Hot Air Balloon Classic

Colors of every shade!

Arizona Hot Air Balloon Classic

Tethered Balloon Flights throughout the day.

For more information head to the Classic’s official website.

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Meg Jerrard is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.


  1. THIS!! This is why I’ve always wanted to go to Arizona (and for a few other reasons, of course). Maybe now that I’m back in the US I can finally visit. Great photos Meg!

    • So glad you enjoyed the photos Beth! And you should definitely come and visit Arizona – it’s a great state and always has so much going on!

  2. I’ve never heard of this before but it must have been so beautiful going at sunset and seeing all the colourful balloons lighting up the sky!

    • It absolutely was! The event ran throughout the whole weekend, all day, though I think hitting it up at sunset was the best time of the day to go. That way we got to experience a little of the daylight and the beautiful sky as the sun went down :)

  3. That’s SO COOL!!! I love watching balloons in the early morning (although now when it’s -30 some day I think people are crazy when I catch one on the horizon). The colours and shapes of these ones are awesome!

    • Dam! The balloons still go up when it’s -30?! Now THAT’s commitment!

  4. So neat! I like the cactus balloon :) So colorful, must have been amazing to see them all floating across the sky.

    • That was my favorite too! Very apt I thought for Arizona :)

  5. I love all those vibrant oranges and yellows! Looks so beautiful against that early morning sky. I’d love to witness this for myself ;)

    • It really was a beautiful scene to witness :) I hope you can manage a trip for the 2016 classic!

  6. Stunning photo’s. That witch balloon is awesome!

    • Thanks Sammi! That one was the first which grabbed my attention – definitely unique!

  7. Those balloons look gorgeous, well done on the pictures. It reminds me of the time I did a trip on a hot air balloon, definitely something I’d like to do again one day. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thanks Antonette! So glad the post brought back fond memories for you!

  8. Hot Air Ballons are so awesome, I remember I did that in Cappadocia last year and I loved it!

    • Oooh nice! Cappadocia has to be one of the best places in the world for hot air ballooning!

  9. Great shots! Love all those vibrant colors :)

    • Thanks Mary! It was such a wonderful experience – I was like a little kid running around to try and capture all of the vivid colors of the balloons!

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