Canowindra International Balloon Challenge 2019

The small rural town of Canowindra will swell in numbers over two weeks in April when it hosts the annual International Balloon Challenge.

Approximately 10,000 people are expected at the Balloon Glow, event founder Jan Kerr said.

This is the event's 10th year in operation and was first started by Ms Kerr and husband Graham because they wanted to help lift the spirits of those affected by the drought.

"About 10 years ago there was a really big drought then that had been going on for a few years and Canowindra like every other little town in the west was suffering badly and I thought we needed something to life the spirits of the people in town," Ms Kerr said.

But the second reason for starting the international balloon challenge in Canowindra was to have an annual event where pilots could take part in a full-scale competition.

Ms Kerr said it was a "magical thing" to see 40 balloons take to the sky.

"It just sends tingles down your spine," she said.


"I've been in ballooning for 33 years and I still get the goosebumps  when I go flying, it's just such a magic feeling."

Approximately 10,000 people are expected at the Balloon Glow, Ms Kerr said.

"For a town of 2000 people that's pretty enormous. But during the week we actually turn the Showground into a camping ground and its also our headquarters... and we've got 330 sites so that means roughly, 650 people will be there for most of the week," she explained.

"The town swells by a third of its size at any rate."

The 2019 challenge will see between 40-45 balloons take part, making it the biggest balloon meet in the southern hemisphere this year, Ms Kerr said.

There are a few surprises in store at Balloon Glow night, but one of the things Ms Kerr was able to speak about was the a special balloon called 'Iwi the Kiwi' who will fly throughout the Canowindra Challenge and will feature at the Cabonne Country Balloon Glow.

"Which is really appropriate at the moment with the terror they've had in New Zealand. It's lovely that we're going to be able to share the Kiwi with Aussies," Ms Kerr said.

A short film festival, Flickerfest, will also be featured on Easter Saturday at the Showground.

"Flickerfest is a celebration of Australian short movies, Ms Kerr explained and it will be the first time that it has been staged at the Canowindra Balloon Challenge.

"We're doing a few innovative and different things this year to make it more enjoyable for families and families, friends and any else who wants to come," she said.

Balloonists come from all over Australia, with the furthers coming from Western Australia.

The event also attracts pilots form the USA, UK, New Zealand, France, China, Chile and the Czech Republic.

Ms Kerr said the event will appeal to everyone, especially those with a caravan or campervan and encouraged those to come along.

"There's still some room (for campers) at the Sports Ovals across the road from the Showground. Over Eastter we've got room at the Showgropund and then there's caravan parks at Cowra, Cudal, Orange and Forbes... so there';s plenty of pelaces where people can stay. Just coem along and enjoy" she said.

If people go online to buy there tickets to one of the events, they will then go in the draw to win a night at Zoofari Lodge courtesy of Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

For more visit