The Hamilton mass ascension that launches the annual Balloons over Waikato festival has become a 20 year affair for one local mother and her family.

Gaylene Kingston was at Innes Common beside Hamilton Lake with her younger son Logan early on Wednesday and said it is a delight every time.

"It is great, to get the kids out to see this in the morning and witnessing the community spirit," Ms Kingston said.

"It used to just be on one part of the field if I remember rightly so it has become bigger.

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Ms Kingston praised the community spirit which can be witnessed throughout the Balloons over Waikato event.

"You have the children coming down to enjoy it."

"The breakfast that they have on tomorrow, people are down here at like 6am to line up, everyone is here in the dark and we always come with our glowsticks.

Ms Kingston has had the chance to ride in a balloon as well which is one of her fondest memories.

"I was going to be proposed to in a balloon."

"I told my ex if he was planning the balloon trip, just don't, but we enjoyed it and it was really fun."

Ms Kingston's favourite balloon is the Hamilton balloon as everyone gets to see it so often, but said it is really awesome seeing different and new shapes each year.

This year new balloons included Bud E Beaver, Little Wizard and a piranha which has a bloody finger sticking out from its mouth.

Little Wizard has a large cat in its backpack and is owned by a vet called Deb, the cat reminds her of a cat she had rescued.

While some of the new shapes gained praised from Ms Kingston, she was surprised by the edition of a severed finger.

"The most repulsive balloon is the piranha with the finger," Ms Kingston joked.

"The sensory experience that goes on here as well with the morning lawn, and the brew of the coffee," is great, she said.

"And the morning brew of the dead finger," Logan said referencing the piranha balloon again.

Another family also down for another year of balloon watching was Kat and Andy Lerke with their two young girls from England who fought the morning chill to see the balloons go up.

"There is nothing like this in England, we love coming every time and it's just a great experience for the girls to see and it is so lovely here," Ms Lerke said.

Mayor Andrew King officially opened the event with a short speech before the balloons took rose and headed off to show their flying skills.

Where to see the balloons

Balloons over Waikato continues at Innes Common on Thursday. Friday and Saturday mornings with balloonsinflating at 7.30.

There's a City Burn and Markets at Hamilton's Garden Place from 6pm on Friday; the Nightglow at University of Waikato on Saturday from 4pm to 9pm, with the Grassroots Trust Finale on Sunday morning at 7.30 at Innes Common.

Some of the balloons will visit South Waikato on Friday evening 6 to 8 at Tokoroa Memorial Sport Ground; others will be in Waipa at the same time, at Mighty River Domain at Lake Karapiro.