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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Masterton

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Fans flock to festival

Wairarapa’s sky was ablaze with hot air balloons on Saturday night, attracting thousands of skyward-looking spectators.

The Wairarapa Balloon Festival’s night glow event drew patrons of all ages from across the Greater Wellington Region.

Event coordinator Peter Aymes said about 10,000 people attended the headline event.

“We are very happy that we had a successful event, and we are pleased that the balloons were able to inflate and stay inflated.”

He said the other events, including model aeroplane flights and drone racing, easily entertain the crowd.

Aymes said a balloon took off from the middle of the arena, and others flew above the show at dusk before the main night glow event.

Lines of cars could be seen lining the road from the Upper Hutt side of the Remutaka Hill on Saturday night, heading back to Wellington City from Carterton.

Some patrons said it took them more than two hours to leave the carpark at the Clareville Showgrounds.

Aymes said the level of traffic was about normal for the number of patrons, but it did cause a bit of angst.

“That’s the sort of thing that you have when you’re trying to exit that many people in a short amount of time.”

The festival kicked off on Thursday morning, with the first ascension taking place in Masterton.

Aymes said he was grateful to all who supported the event by attending, sponsoring, and volunteering.

“We just hope that the show has lifted the hearts of people in some difficult times and put a smile on their faces.”

The festival is set to wrap up this morning, with the final flight taking off at 6.15am at Memorial Park in Greytown, “so long as the weather plays ball”, Aymes said.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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