Hot air balloons took to the skies over Masterton this morning as the 15th Balloons Over Wairarapa festival entered its second day.

Wairarapa College was the setting for this morning's launch.

Balloonists competed in the Resene Skittles competition to knock over stacks of paint cans, or throw tennis balls at targets as they lifted off from the Masterton college.

Heading south-east, the next test for pilots was to throw a marker onto a cross marked out at Hood Aerodrome.


Last night crowds were entertained at the burner parade in Carterton, where pilots drove through the town centre firing their burners for a night-time spectacle.

The festival began yesterday morning with balloons lifting off in a mass ascension from Carrington Park in Carterton.

A `meet the pilots' event is held at Hood Aerodrome this afternoon, and the festival continues with a splash-and-dash at Henley Lake on Saturday morning, when pilots will compete in a series of flying tests, and a Night Glow event at Solway Showgrounds on Saturday night.

On Sunday morning balloonists will compete in a flying test involving dropping a marker onto a target at the Carterton Events Centre.