ALULA (Rahnuma): Balloonists from 19 countries staged a record-breaking hot air balloon “glow show” above the AlUla desert in an extraordinary night-time display.
The Guinness World Record for longest hot air balloon glow show was confirmed by an official adjudicator after 100 balloons soared aloft across a 3 km stretch of AlUla’s spectacular desert landscape.
The record-breaking flight, a highlight of the Winter at Tantora festival, was described as “a magical occasion” by Amr Al-Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla and president of the Saudi Arabian Balloon Federation.
Glow shows — in which balloonists create choreographed dancing lights set to music by using their burners to illuminate their hot air balloons — are a regular attraction at AlUla’s Winter at Tantora arts, music and culture festival, but this was the most ambitious ever staged.
“This was a tremendously complex task in planning and coordination,” Al-Madani said. “It was a night to remember and demonstrates once again the extraordinary opportunities that AlUla has to offer as a destination.”
The international balloonists were participating in Winter at Tantora’s Balloon Festival, and offered festival visitors a chance to glide over AlUla’s spectacular landscape and some of its 7,000 years of archaeological remains, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hegra, a 2,000-year-old Nabataean site with well-preserved tombs carved into sandstone cliffs.
Safety was paramount for the record-breaking attempt, with organizers and support teams monitoring wind conditions and the distance between balloons. The winter festival’s regular hot air balloon glow shows usually feature only 25 balloons.
Winter at Tantora runs until March 7, and features top-class entertainment, cultural, arts and sporting events, including concerts at the mirrored Maraya concert hall and the Fursan horse endurance race on Feb. 1. For details and booking information visit www.book.experiencealula.com.