Balloons over Waikato

Balloons over WaikatoIt’s a bird! It’s a cake! It’s… a rocket man? Yes, all those and more! Once every year, the skies of Waikato and Hamilton fill with brilliant color as pilots take to the skies in their hot air balloons. This five day festival begins March 26 and runs through March 30, 2014 and is well worth the drive. It’s a longer journey, but one worth making. Best of all, this event is FREE!

Each morning, propane-fueled orbs rise with the sun to float over the land from Innes Common, their journey dictated by wherever the wind blows them. Before take-off, you’ll have the opportunity to mingle with the pilots and watch the balloons as they inflate. More than 130,000 spectators are estimated to attend this event. Vendors are available for food purchases while at the event as well, with the opportunity for you to take a 45-minute ride into the skies! While you’re in the area, take the opportunity to tour Hobbiton, a beautiful little town featured in the J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired movies, nestled right in the Hamilton region. Since it’s a longer drive and there are so many things to do while in Hamilton and Waikato, you’ll want to plan ahead of time to fit it all in.

As a special treat, on Saturday, March 29th, Waikato University hosts their ASB Glow Night from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. This year they celebrate their 50th birthday with spectacular musical performances by Enigma, Total Addiction, The Monroe’s and more! The night only gets better as The Glow commences at 7:45 p.m. under the direction of creative producer Trevor Graham (UK). This event ends with a bang, rather, quite a few bangs, as you enjoy an amazing fireworks display by pyrotechnic master Dr. Martin van Tiel, followed by the “afterglow” encore by The Monroe’s. Don’t miss this once a year event! .

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