SAINT-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Aug. 13, 2011) - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, announces the awarding of $315,000 in non-repayable funding to the International de montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu from Canada Economic Development. This amount comes on top of the $156,100 contribution announced last July 29 by the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

"Thanks to support from the Government of Canada, the International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu―one of the largest gatherings of its kind in the world―will be able to consolidate the enviable position it already enjoys on the international stage," said Minister Lebel.

"Our Government received a strong mandate from Canadians to invest in festivals like the International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu," noted Minister Moore. "By supporting these activities, our Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen our communities and support arts, culture, and heritage."

Awarded through the Community Diversification program, the funding from Canada Economic Development will support the international promotion and commercialization of the festival's 2011 and 2012 editions. The International will develop, notably press materials to woo the international media, participate in tourism fairs and conventions, and promote and advertise the events. The contribution has also been granted to help develop a new activity concept, Night Glows, to be added to this year's festival program.

For its part, the contribution from the Department of Heritage Canada will go toward the presentation, by some 500 regional artists, artisans and performers, of concerts, heritage activities and animation workshops for children. More than one thousand volunteers will ensure the smooth running of the festival. This funding is provided through the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program, which aims to increase opportunities for Canadians to take part in activities that present local arts and culture and celebrate local history and heritage.

Founded 28 years ago, the International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu attracted, in 2010, more than 411,000 visitors from near and far. This year the festival, which will be featuring 125 hot air balloons from around the world, will be held from August 13 to 21, 2011. This gathering is one of the most important festivals in Montérégie as well as the Greater Montréal area.

Canada Economic Development is online at Subscribe to the Agency's press releases at to keep up with the latest news.

This press release is also available online at under Newsroom.

Contact Information:

Catherine Vallee
Canada Economic Development

Benoit Fortin
Special Assistant, Communications
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Canada Economic Development

Sebastien Gariepy
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
and Official Languages