Balloon fiesta fills skies with colour

People flock to Masterton Balloon Fiesta

CALEB HARRIS
Last updated 14:13 13/03/2014

Relevant offers

Wairarapa

Arrest after car smashes fences, lawns and gardens as men flee Masterton police Wairarapa farmer welcomes public on his land Pongaroa earthquake felt across Manawatu Family share pain of losing Natalia Austin in Wellington motorbike crash Sentences review call over Norman Harris, 18, who moved body to shift blame Club considers closing historic Tararua hut after vandals tramp in to trash it Fonterra's $235 million state-of-the-art rebuild of Pahiatua dairy factory Gunman traumatises staff at Masterton TAB sports bar Ripping out 25,000 healthy vines a lesson for whole NZ economy: winemaker 'Terrifying' axeman demands cash at Carterton Mobil station

"The best balloon meeting in the country" lifted off this morning, with perfect weather, hundreds of spectators and a giant inflatable house marking the occasion.

As this weekend's Wairarapa Balloon Fiesta got underway, 22 balloons lifted off within ten minutes of each other in what balloonists call a "mass ascension".

Conditions were perfect, with clear, blue Wairarapa skies showing no hint of the rough weather forecast for coming days.

Pilots Ross and Mary-Lee Sale, of Auckland, have been coming to the fiesta for years and said it was "probably the best [balloon] meeting in the country". Wairarapa's topography made it ideal for ballooning, Mr Sale said.

"You can fly 360 degrees, depending on the winds. It's a big bowl, basically."

Hundreds of people turned out in the cool dawn air to watch the balloons' stately progress. Elise McDonald, 2, was with mum Angela and said she liked the balloons "because they fly up in the sky".

Niels Schot, 5, said the best thing was "they're colourful" while sister Frida, 6, said her favourite was the house-shaped balloon, "because it looks like a real house".

Her aunt Magdalena, 17, said wistfully she would love to go up in a balloon. "You could see all the area where I've lived and everything, it would be so cool."

The fiesta runs until Sunday and sees pilots from around the country and overseas compete in events testing their ability to read the wind speed and direction, as well as the chance for people to take rides.

After events in Carterton, Greytown and Martinborough, the fiesta culminates in the Trust House Night Glow on Saturday evening and the Henley Lake Challenge on Sunday morning, both in Masterton.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

How many coffees do you have a day?

5 or even more

3-4

2

1

Anything from 1-5.

Don't touch the stuff.

Vote Result

Related story: Coffee as we know it at risk of dying

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content