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Wednesday February 9, 2011

Hot air balloons to dot Putrajaya sky

HOT air balloons will once again dot the sky over Putrajaya during the third Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2011.

More than 20 balloonists from 13 countries, including first-time participants from India, Vietnam and Hong Kong, will take part in the event themed 1 World, 1 Malaysia and 1 Fiesta to be held from March 17 to 20 at Monumen Alaf Baru at Precinct 2.

There will be 26 hot air balloons in various designs — tree trunk surrounded by birds, Darth Vader and even an upside down one with a basket atop the envelope.

Colourful draw: The third Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2011 will be held from March 17 to 20.

Fiesta chairman Khairudin Abdul Rani said he hoped the four-day event, which is co-organised by the Malaysian Sport Aviation Federation and AKA Balloon Sdn Bhd, would spur interest in aviation sports.

“It is also our small contribution to promote tourism in this administrative capital and our target this year is to have more than 250,000 spectactors,” he said.

Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, who launched the ceremony, said the event would attract local and international tourists.

The hot air balloons will take off twice a day, from 7am to 9am and 5.30pm to 7pm, at a height of not more than 304.8m and within 5km radius of the event site.

While the hot air balloon flights would not be opened to the public, five hot air balloons rented by the Putrajaya Corporation would be available for tethered rides at RM10 per adult and RM5 per child, from 8am to 11am and 6pm to 9pm.

Visitors could also go on helicopter rides, water ball, sphere rides, lake cruise, wall-climbing, paintball and archery.

For children, there would be colouring and paper aeroplane contests.

The event will also showcase paramotor, remote-controlled planes and helicopters, aero models and professional kite-flying.

On the night of March 19, there would be a display featuring hot air balloons glowing like light bulbs, followed by a fireworks display.

For details, visit www.myballoonfiesta.com, call 03-7981 8769/ 8712, join the Facebook group “myballoonfiesta” or follow “@myballoonfiesta” on Twitter.