Look to the skies as the sun rises on the 26th March and you will be greeted with a variety of hot air balloons that can be seen drifting gracefully above Hamilton city’s rooftops. This marks the start of the annual Balloons Over Waikato Festival, a five-day event of spectacular hot air balloon displays and challenges.
Big ones, bright ones, crazily shaped ones – they’re all there putting on a magnificent show. Balloons Over Waikato, is New Zealand premier ballooning festival in drawing balloons, pilots and enthusiasts from around the world, attracted by the event’s meticulous planning, friendly welcome and ideal flying conditions.
Most mornings during the festival, flotillas of balloons can be seen, silent and majestic above the city and region after rising from Innes Common and following the breeze to wherever it takes them.
More than 130,000 people are set to attend the annual Balloons Over Waikato this year and with the Nightglow event on Saturday alone seeing crowds of around 80,000, 2014 is sure to prove just as popular.
The balloonists drop in to visit schools and parks around the region during the festival as well as take part in a range of competitions, always surrounded by curious on-lookers and professional organisers to ensure safety for all. Each year features at least one special shaped balloon to get people talking, with the 2014 shapes already including the Resene Hummingbird, and the Hamilton 150th birthday celebrations cake balloon.
As usual 2014 will provide plenty of chances to get up close and personal with the balloonists and their balloons as they slowly inflate before lifting off into the sky.
Each day kicks off with an early morning mass ascension when 30-35 balloons fly out from Innes Common beside Hamilton Lake. A Friday evening balloon parade along Hamilton’s Victoria St is planned along with the spectacular Saturday Nightglow with live music, the balloons lighting up in the dark and a dramatic fireworks display to cap everything off.
The festival includes many other events with a full programme to be announced.
For a full programme of events visit the website www.balloonsoverwaikato.co.nz
WIN the ‘Best Seats in the House’ at the ASB Nightglow
Enter Here for your chance to WIN! Hamilton City is giving 50 lucky families of four the chance to win an amazing weekend in Hamilton, including the ‘Best Seats in the House’ at the ASB Nightglow event as part of the Balloons Over Waikato Festival, accommodation and much more.