amis du ballon
February 1979, the Tourist Office organises the 1st International Hot Air Balloon Week with the collaboration of Hans Bücker, 12 balloons from 5 different countries attend the event. This inaugural event raises the profile of Château-d’Œx both in Switzerland and abroad. David Niven, the famous actor and star of «Around the World in 80 Days», sponsored the first event.
February 1994, the 4th World Hot-Air Ballooning Championship. This was the first time that an event of this kind took place in the Swiss mountains during winter. 16 pilots from 9 countries competed in 12 events held around the Pays-d'Enhaut. Julia Kourotchkina (Miss World 1993) and Roger Moore, alias «James Bond», were the godmother and godfather of that year’s event.
March 1999, the Breitling Orbiter III, designed by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, took off from Château-d'Œx on March the 1st at 9:05 am. After a flight lasting 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes, they landed in the Egyptian desert on March 21st at 6:57 am. This was the first round-the-world balloon flight and it broke both the flight time and distance records (45,755 km).
2010, the 32nd edition suffered due to overcast weather conditions. This was the first time the Night Glow had to be cancelled. On the positive side, the programme was extended to include other types of aircraft. A magnificent flight also took place celebrating 10 years of the twinning of the towns of Bristol (UK), Romorantin (FR), Sint-Niklaas (BE) and Château-d’Œx (CH).
2017, all possible flight windows were exploited during the event. The pilots accumulated over 800 flight hours and 611 take-offs took place. We also witnessed the take-off of the gas balloon piloted by Nicolas Tièche and Laurent Sciboz, which landed in the French Jura after 21 hours in the air. After a 5-year absence, the Night Glow once again provided a unique spectacle during the climax of the event.
2023,this year marked the 43rd edition of the International Balloon Festival after a 2-year absence due to the pandemic! Over the 9 days of the festival, 8 days were able to realise take-offs and balloon flights, principally during the mornings. In total, the 60 balloons were able to take off 379 times from Château-d'Œx, for a total of 498 hours of flight over the duration of the festival.