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Balloon Festival grounded again

Next year’s Wairarapa Balloon Festival has been cancelled due to covid-19 uncertainty. PHOTO/FILE

Planning starts for Easter 2022

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There’ll be no colourful balloon displays next year either, with the 2021 Wairarapa Balloon Festival also cancelled due to ongoing uncertainty around covid-19.

This year’s gala was one of the first event casualties with the Wairarapa Balloon Society committee making the “heartbreaking” announcement to cancel it in mid-March, just one month out from the four-day festival.

President Shaun McGillicuddy said it was going to be a brilliant event but had been cancelled due to covid-19 difficulties with contact tracing and international travel.

It was for similar reasons that next year’s event was also cancelled.

“With the uncertainty of how things are going to pan out over the next few months, we’ve decided not to hold an event for 2021.”

Several international pilots with unique balloons were keen to attend but would not be able to due to border closures, he said.

“Wairarapa is quite a good ground for ballooning and given that we do have international shapes come, it’s a reasonably good drawcard.

“It could end up being a half event and we want to make sure if we do it, we do it well.”

The group would also have struggled to get sponsorship for Easter next year, he said.

“We are in the planning stages for Easter 2022 though, and that’s pretty much confirmed.”

This year’s event also marked Robyn Cherry-Campbell’s last year as organiser.

As such the committee was on the lookout for a new organiser as well as other committee members.

McGillicuddy said those interested in applying didn’t need to have ballooning pilot experience.

“It’s basically a family thing. It doesn’t matter who you are, we’re all part of it.”

The Wairarapa Balloon Festival has been running for more than 20 years and its many events attracts thousands of visitors to the region.

  • More information can be found online at nzballoons.co.nz.


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