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Countdown to liftoff

Early bird tickets go on sale tomorrow for this year’s Wairarapa Balloon Festival.

The tickets are available online as the region gears up for one of its signature events.

This year, international balloonists are expected to be part of the lineup, with a total of about 20 balloonists expected – the largest number of participants in the event’s history.

The festival will run from April 6th to April 10th, with launches from different Wairarapa towns each morning. There will also be a night event for the first time since 2019.

Called “Night Glow”, it will be at Clareville Showgrounds.

Event director Peter Amyes said this year’s lineup would be better than ever.

“We’re shifting the Night Glow to the Clareville Showgrounds, which has fewer residential constraints and more settled weather patterns. This allows us to do things we’ve never done before, so the entertainment will be spectacular.

“We’ve got skydivers, Tiger Moths overhead, model aeroplanes, night drone racing, live music, a bouncy castle, and of course, the balloons.”

After dark, the glowing balloons will be inflated but tethered to the ground. Set against a backdrop of music, five hours of entertainment are planned.

This will include art and craft stalls and a range of food and drink.

People can also bring picnics.

“We believe the Night Glow will be one of the best-value events for families in the Wairarapa this summer,” Amyes said.

Destination Wairarapa marketing manager Barbara Hyde said the return of the Night Glow is good news.

“With up to 15,000 people expected, it will be a great boost to our economy. With Easter a long weekend, and the start of the school holidays, we expect families to travel to our region and enjoy the balloons and special entertainment at the Night Glow, with the other great things we have in Wairarapa.”

    More information, including pricing and ticketing options, is at www.nzballoons.co.nz

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