The Labor Day weekend weather was perfect for the 29th annual Festival de Montgolfières de Gatineau. In English, that’s the Gatineau hot air Balloon Festival. The differences in names and terms between French and English are not always literal. In French, a hot air balloon is called a Montgolfier—named after the two French brothers, Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier who invented the craft way back in 1783. Over 230 years later, the big balloons still enchant and entertain people on and off the ground.
Twenty-five balloons from across North and South America were on display on the evening of Labor Day. Some stayed on the ground and others lifted off over the city. The display was a brief, carefree pause at the end of the last long weekend of summer. With their eyes on the skies, going back to school or work seemed like the last thing on anyone’s mind.