The Balloons over Waikato festival is set to commence in just a few hours’ time, and will see the debut of six new hot air balloons.
This year’s event kicks off on Wednesday, March 21 and will last for four days. It is the 18th edition of the ballooning festival, which takes place in Hamilton, New Zealand. The city is located on the country’s north Island.
The event starts early on Wednesday (with Waikato being 13 hours ahead of GMT) with a mass ascension scheduled to take place at 7:30 am. Pilots from all over the world will gather to mark the start of the event by lifting dozens of hot air balloons into the morning skies.
The festival will see six new balloons taking part this year, and these balloons each take different shapes. This will include a beaver, Bud E Beaver, a piranha and a wizard with a cat. These novelty balloons always prove to be a hit with the crowd. There will also be a family of pilots each flying their own balloons.
One of the highlights of the event will be the Zulu night glow, which will take place on the penultimate day of the festival, Saturday, March 24, at the University of Hamilton. This usually attracts crowds in excess of 70,000.
More and more hot air balloon events are taking place over the world as people become more interested in the vessels. Brits can take their own hot air balloon rides in Bristol, Bath and in many other locations across the country.