THE presence of little, glowing baubles hung up at the Esplanade in Penang is an unmistakable sign that hot air balloons will soon be back in town.
As a prelude to the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in February, tourists on their evening walk along Light Street are now treated to colourful selfie opportunities beside the Esplanade field with 700 little hot air balloon paper crafts hanging overhead.
Dubbed “The Path” of Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2019, they are lit up like lanterns from 7.30pm to midnight every day until March 14.
Another 400 paper craft hot air balloons will be displayed at the Butterworth Art Walk on the mainland from Dec 30 to March 30.
All the crafts were made by children of up to 12 years old.
The fiesta is returning for the fifth year on Feb 9 and 10, which happens to be the fifth and sixth days of Chinese New Year.
State Tourism Development, Heritage, Culture and Arts Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, who launched the lighting up ceremony, said the fiesta would feature 15 local and international hot air balloons over two days at Polo Ground from 7am to 9.30pm.
He added that the public could look forward to participating
in family-friendly activities, creative workshops and many other exciting activities.
“The Path of Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is a platform to showcase children’s creativity and create a place for the public to enjoy the beautifully lit paper balloons and take memorable photos together,” he said adding that the Esplanade had always been a favoured recreational spot.
Meanwhile, Yeoh said a project to restore the 135-year-old “Fountain Garden”, located next to Town Hall, was nearing completion.
He said the North Seafront master plan was a comprehensive project divided into 10 different zones, including Dewan Sri Pinang, two food courts, Fort Cornwallis, the clock tower as well as Town Hall and City Hall, which were being undertaken progressively.
Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2019 is organised by AKA Balloons Sdn Bhd and funded by the state government with the cooperation of Penang Island City Council, Seberang Prai Municipal Council and Penang Global Tourism.
Also present were state Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi, Penang Global Tourism chief executive officer Ooi Chok Yan, AKA Balloons Sdn Bhd’s Nur Izzati Khairudin and TLM Event managing director Jack Wong.