A fiesta of excitement


A ‘fire engine’ is one of the star attractions at the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at the Polo Ground. — Photos: ASRI ABDUL GHANI/The Star

THE Penang Polo Ground was a hive of activity as the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2018 took off.

Colourful hot air balloons in all shapes and sizes took to the skies as early at 7.30am with many swarming the area to get a Saturday morning early ride on a balloon.

There were hot air balloons called Little Dog to signify the Year of the Dog, Pirate Parrot, Busby the Queen’s Guard and even Albert Einstein in the form of an owl dubbed Owlbert Evenstein.

Nuruliza Kamaruddin was spotted running across the field to one of the balloons with her four kids, aged between 10 and 14, hoping for an early ride but they were too late.

 

Colourful balloons lighting up the venue during the ‘night glow’ display. — Photo courtesy of David S.T. Loh.
Colourful balloons lighting up the venue during the ‘night glow’ display. — Photo courtesy of David S.T. Loh.

 

“Oh, they have left,” sighed the 40-year-old customs officer from Ipoh, Perak.

“I have been coming here with my son and three daughters over the past three years as they like the ride and it’s great to have an array of stalls for us to have our breakfast and lunch,” she said.

Greek tourist Felix Carlos, 35, and his girlfriend Maggie Chan, 30, who were looking at the reverse bungee, said he would not be going on it as he was afraid of heights.

“We are down here for the holidays as Maggie is from Penang and we decided to celebrate Chinese New Year with her parents.”

Chan added that it has been a hectic few days as they visited the Kek Lok Si Temple, joined in the Jade Emperor celebration at Chew Jetty, and finished their holiday with the balloon fiesta.

Tourists posing for a photo below the hot air balloons.
Tourists posing for a photo below the hot air balloons.

There were 16 hot air balloons in the event being held for the fourth time in Penang over the weekend.

The highlights were seven special shaped balloons and four tethered balloons offering thrilling rides.

Penang Global Tourism chief executive officer Ooi Chok Yan said the crowd numbered in the thousands on both days.

Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2018 is endorsed by the state government with the cooperation of Penang Island City Council, Seberang Prai Municipal Council and Penang Global Tourism.

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