Festival will rise above weather

By Amie Hickland of the Wairarapa Times-Age -
Blasts from burners help the procession of hot-air balloons head skyward at the start of the Trust House Balloons Over Wairarapa. Photo / Wairarapa Times-Age
Blasts from burners help the procession of hot-air balloons head skyward at the start of the Trust House Balloons Over Wairarapa. Photo / Wairarapa Times-Age

A little rain hasn't dampened the spirits of the Trust House Balloons Over Wairarapa organisers, who say the weather is looking good for the festival start tomorrow.

The 15th annual balloon festival will see balloons and their pilots take part in a series of competitions and displays over four days.

Wairarapa Balloon Society chairman Jonathan Hooker said the weather is set to clear up but the rain had taken the "edge" off.

"We were anxious about how dry the ground was, particularly when they're inflating the balloons," he said.

Although balloons can handle a bit of wind, rain does become an issue.

"You can still fly if it's a bit windy but you can't if it's raining."

Mr Hooker said the weather had also affected the build up of toxic algae at Henley Lake, which means the Wairarapa Times-Age Splash 'n Dash on Saturday morning may be altered if the lake can't be used.

"We'll still be in the Henley Lake area but whether we'll be able to splash and dash will be another matter."

In previous years, the weather has packed up halfway through the festival.

"But for Thursday morning, we're looking good," he said.

Mr Hooker said the society was looking forward to the festival, particularly the arrival of Pioneering balloon pilot Roly Parsons. "He's excited and so are all the balloonists, particularly the ones like Martyn Stacey, Peter King and Andrew Nicholson, who have al been around for quite a while."

Festival director Mr Stacey said the weather should "fine up quite nicely" for the event.

He was looking forward to the festival and said it was another great line-up.

"We've got the cream of New Zealand ballooning coming to Wairarapa - which I think is nice," he said.

Regular updates on the festival will be posted online and broadcast on radio. Check: www.nzballoons.co.nz, Twitter: BallonsoverWai, Facebook: Balloons Over Wairarapa and listen to Wairarapa's 89.5/105.5 MoreFM.

For more information on how to book a ride and for full festival information see the website www.nzballoons.co.nz.

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