Sukkot is festival season here in Israel. During the holiday week, people take time to travel, camp out and enjoy the country when the weather is at its best.

One of the more colorful outdoor events is the International Hot Air Balloon Festival that this year started out in the north, at Park Ma’ayan Harod near Mount Gilboa in the Galilee and finished up in the south at Park Eshkol in the Negev.

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Hot air balloon rides are a popular tourist activity and several local companies participate each year in the event.

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Photo by Igal Slavin

In addition, there were balloonists from the world over — Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the US — here to get a birds-eye view of Israel. In all, 16 balloons passed over the country in spectacular airborne style.

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The Night Glow event was a chance to see the balloons’ interior workings – the fire that makes the hot air which provides lift.

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Heading south, the balloons arrived at Eshkol National Park and the Besor Stream in the northern Negev region. With an estimated 10,000 attendees, this year’s Hot Air Balloon Festival was Israel’s largest to date.

Images courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, International Hot Air Balloon Festival