Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Watch man's flights of fancy soar up high through the clouds above Putrajaya, the garden city of Malaysia!
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For four days during March every year, the skies of the administrative capital of Malaysia, Putrajaya, are filled with balloons of all colours and sizes. This unique fiesta first took place in 2009, and has fast become one of the most famous events associated with Putrajaya and Malaysia. Every year, selected balloonists from all over the world are invited to Putrajaya to fly their amazing balloons for all to see. The hot air balloons on show are not only your typical-shaped balloons but also include famous cultural icons, like Darth Vader and Doraemon, as well as whimsical designs, like the upside down balloon.
The Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is organised by the Malaysian Sport Aviation Federation and Aka Ballooon Sdn Bhd, and supported by Perbadanan Putrajaya, the authority responsible for the federal administrative capital. The event is always held in March and lasts for four days, and is timed to coincide with the one week school holiday in that month. The event is opened to the public, but the balloonists who become part of this fiesta are carefully chosen by the organising committee. Most of the balloonists are part of an international circuit, coming to Putrajaya after Thailand's ballooning event in December and the Phillipines in February.
The Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta's highlights include the Night Glow Show, an audio visual display of lights, music and balloons. Held on Saturday night, the show features all the attending balloons displayed on a field in full view of the crowd. The balloons are lit up in rhythm with the music, using specialised hot air burners that cast a visible yellow flame. The result is a strobing light show that is choreographed to music. Other highlights include free ranging balloon and tethered balloon rides, a fun fair, and various side attractions.
The fiesta is now an anticipated event in the Malaysian tourism calendar, and usually draws huge crowds especially during the weekend. The number of invited balloonists has increased from 18 in the inaugural year, to 23 in 2010, and 27 in 2011. This number is expected to increase as the event continues to grow in popularity through the years.