THE EMPIRE strikes back as Darth Vader — or rather, the Darth Vader balloon from Belgium — marks its return at the upcoming 6th Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.
The fun-filled family event will be held from March 27 to 30 at Millennium Monument, Precinct 2, Putrajaya.
This year’s fiesta will feature Buzzy, a green monster balloon from the United States, a pair of cartoon bee characters also from the United States, an ice cream cone-shaped balloon from Belgium, and a heart-shaped balloon from Taiwan.
Among the attractions and side events are hot-air balloon rides that will be held twice daily, Mountain Dew Extreme Zone offering activities like water zorbing, paintball and wall climbing, helicopter joy rides, and Night Glow event where hot air balloons and strobe lights are lit in sync to the sounds of popular music.
The fiesta was launched alongside the 2014 Putrajaya Calendar of Events by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
The calendar lists 88 events, including categories like sports, recreation, culture and art, as well as the following highlights: Festival of Speed, Paintfest Asia/ Paintball 2014, Red Bull International Air Race World Championship, Putrajaya International Dragon Boat Festival, Floria Putrajaya, Ramadan Festival, Putrajaya International Fireworks Competition, Formula E-Car Racing and Putrajaya International Islamic Arts and Culture Festival.
Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) president Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat said PPj was targeting to receive more than five million local and international tourists to Putrajaya this year.
“Over the past 10 years, Putrajaya has become a must-see destination for tourists to Malaysia, especially for those from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Middle East.”
“This statement is supported by statistics to various places of interest in Putrajaya. The city recorded 1.85 million tourists in 2013 and 1.83 million in 2012,”said Aseh.
“The line-up of local and international events in Putrajaya will enhance the city’s image as a tourist destination, in addition to it being the Federal administrative centre,” said Tengku Adnan.
“It is also hoped that such tourism events will boost the economy and benefit the country.”
In line with Visit Malaysia Year 2014, Tengku Adnan urged PPj and the Putrajaya community to welcome and assist tourists where necessary to ensure they enjoyed their trip.
“I mooted the idea of having a parade of flower floats in Putrajaya during my time as Tourism Minister. However, that idea was shelved, then carried out in another state.”
“I hope Aseh will consider introducing such an event soon. It would be similar to the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California,”he said.
For details, visit www.myballoonfiesta.com / www.facebook.com/myballoonfiesta and www.ppj.gov.my / www.facebook.com/putrajaya