Balloonists to descend on Hororata

by Kent Caddick

Balloonists from all over New Zealand are travelling to be part of the Hororata Night Glow event this weekend.

The first-ever Hororata Night Glow festival event, run by the Hororata Community Trust, will be held at the Hororata Domain on Saturday.

The event is shaping up to be a spectacular and unique experience with tethered hot air balloons set to light up the night sky, surrounded by a vibrant autumn festival with food and music.

Ballooning Canterbury pilot, Michael Oakley, is coordinating the balloons for the event from the company’s Hororata base, and has organised a Hororata fly-in prior to the Night Glow event.

“One of the appeals for balloonists to come to an event is the chance to fly in a different area with a group of other balloon enthusiasts,” Mr Oakley said.

“The crews are arriving earlier in the week so that we can have some flights together if the weather allows. The crews will be billeted with local families and are looking forward to enjoying all our community has to offer.”

Mr Oakley said one of the facets of ballooning that adds a certain romanticism to it is that it holds to certain small traditions, some of which go back to ballooning’s origins in France.

“One of these traditions is for the pilot, or aeronaut, to present the landowner on whose property they make their final landing with a ceremonial bottle of champagne.

“Hot air balloons are at the mercy of the wind somewhat so when and where we fly early in the mornings will only be decided just prior to launching.

“We will always endeavour to respect people’s property, especially when to comes to landing. As with ballooning tradition, the pilots will be presenting landowners with a bottle of wine to thank them,” he said.

Ballooning Canterbury preparing a balloon for flight

At the Hororata Night Glow, the balloons are tethered to the ground during the Glow, as they perform to music — they are not airborne.

People will be able to meet the pilots, walk through a cold inflated balloon and participate in demonstrations with the University of Canterbury, as they explore Bernoulli’s principle and the science behind hot air balloons.

“This along with the live music, activities, stalls and amazing line-up of food vendors will make for a vibrant festival not to be missed,” one of the organisers, Cindy Driscoll said.

The Hororata Night Glow will be held Saturday, April 28 at the Hororata Domain from 3pm to 8.30pm.

Postponement date is scheduled for the following day.

“A large crowd is expected, so it is recommended people pre-purchase their tickets,” Mrs Driscoll said.

“We have had around 19,000 people who have visited our Facebook page on the event.”

Tickets are available through Eventfinda. Visit the website hororatanightglow.org.nz for all the information on the event.