Home' Waitomo News : 16 March 2017 Contents 4 Waitomo News Thursday, March 16, 2017
Te Kuiti Domain
Friday March 24 • 5-8pm
Balloons over Waikato Festival
will be shared with the
community of Te Kuiti
Locals will be delighted by food vendors, entertainment
and the spectacle of a number of hot air balloons
including a couple of Special Shaped Balloons!
So come on down, bring a picnic and get up close
and personal with hot air balloons for a very special
evening, all thanks to the Waitomo District Council!
Balloons over Waikato Festival
Balloons Over Waikato
GIANT, one-of-a -kind hot air balloons will be floating
above Te Kuiti next week.
On Friday, March 24 North King Country locals will be
treated to a unique view of three special hot air balloons,
thanks to the Balloons over Waikato festival.
It is the second time balloons have visited Te Kuiti, although
bad weather last year meant they were unable to get airborne.
Hosted by the Waitomo District Council (WDC), Balloons
over Waikato are bringing three ‘special’ hot air balloons, as
well as several other regular hot air balloons, to the Te Kuiti
The special balloons are ‘Robbie for Ronald McDonald
House’, ‘Resene in Love with Colour Lovebirds’ and ‘Alien
Built in Spain in 2012, ‘Robbie for Ronald McDonald House’
is 40m tall, weighs 454kg and was inspired by a named a draw-
ing by a young American cancer sufferer – Robbie Medina.
Hamilton McDonald’s franchisee Debi Rush says: “We
chose Robbie because he reflects McDonald’s national charity,
Ronald McDonald House that helps Kiwi families stay close
to their children throughout their medical journeys.
“Every year more than 250 Waikato families call a Ron-
ald McDonald House ‘home’ when their child has to travel
for medical treatment. Our ultimate dream is to establish a
Hamilton-based facility to support more families throughout
the country and the Waikato region.”
The inspiration for the ‘Resene in Love with Colour
Lovebirds’ came from a hot air balloon event in Thailand on
Valentine’s Day last year. It is a heart shaped balloon, standing
19.8m tall and 22.8m wide.
Its American pilot Maria Chieruzzi says: “I’d always wanted
a special shape, but didn’t exactly know what kind of shape.
“While seeing the love all around [in Thailand] and the
love I have for ballooning a lovebird shape came to mind.”
‘Alien Rocket’ is as tall as a 10-storey building, standing at a
height of 29m, and was designed and built completely by the
pilot, Canadian Alain Bard.
“As a young child, I was always fascinated with the space
programme – and I always wanted to be an astronaut,” he says.
“For many years, I knew I wanted a special balloon in the
shape of a rocket. So in 2015, I made my dream a reality, by
designing and building the Alien Rocket.”
WDC communications officer Kelly Marriott says posts
about the event on WDC and Te Kuiti i-SITE’s Facebook pages
have attracted a lot of positive feedback.
“Judging by the feedback we’ve had, it looks like people are
really looking forward to the event,” she says.
“We’re looking forward to a good tonight – for the younger
kids it’s really exciting to see the big colourful balloons.”
She says the Ronald McDonald House is “a really neat cause”
and it’s great to see a hot air balloon promoting it.
Last March more than 1000 people gathered at the domain
to enjoy the food stalls and children’s games on offer.
Ms Marriott says WDC has invited local schools and com-
munity groups to set up stalls as fundraisers at next week’s
event, which runs from 5-8pm.
“As far as we know a lot of the primary schools are taking up
the opportunity. It was originally going to be held from 6pm to
8pm, but we’ve pulled it forward to 5pm because the weather
hasn’t been so flash. We want to ensure that if the weather is
fine about 5 or 6pm, the balloons can get up in the air.”
See the advertisement below.
Balloons over Waikato is New Zealand’s premier hot air
Held annually, based in Hamilton, the five-day event was six
times voted Best Waikato Event by the public of Hamilton in the Waikato
Times Tempo readers’ choice awards and in 2015 won Best Established
Community Event in New Zealand at the National Association of Educa-
tional Procurement (NAEP) Awards. It attracts balloonists from throughout
New Zealand and around the world.
The event runs from Wednesday, March 22 to Sunday, March 26 and in-
cludes viewing opportunities at Hamilton Lake, Hamilton schools, Tokoroa,
Te Kuiti and the University of Waikato.
For more information, visit the website – balloonsoverwaikato.co.nz
ROBBIE for Ronald McDonald House reflects McDonald’s national
charity which supports Kiwi children facing medical journeys.
Up, up and away!
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