Balloons Over Waikato has introduced its first special shape confirmed for the 2018 festival in March.

With five days' of ballooning good fun on the programme, this year's event sees six special shapes from around the world visiting the Waikato. The first being the world's first flying Beaver.

Bud E Beaver was "born" in August 2003, in Montana and is 30m tall, and weighs more than 320kg.

It took six months to complete, and is born from a balloon that has previously visited the festival, Mr Potato Head. Commercial pilot Colin Graham began his piloting career at the age of 15, though his passion for the sport began when he was just a toddler.

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An experienced pilot, he obtained his commercial license at the age of 18, has flown in 33 US states, six countries and cannot wait to fly again in New Zealand.

All the favourite events plus some new ones are back for Balloons Over Waikato 2018 — The Hamilton Mass Ascension, Wel Energy Trust Breakfast at Dawn, First Credit Union Fun Friday, McDonalds Hamilton Cash Grab, Grassroots Trust Finale, The HCBA City Burn & Markets, Balloons visit the Regions and Hamilton's big night out, The ZURU Nightglow.

Meet Bud E Beaver at Balloons over Waikato from March 21-25.