Sunday, April 13, 2008


Hamilton is famous for having a wonderful festival each year called "Balloons over Waikato"
For the last half of last week there was stuff going on each day.

On Wednesday morning we woke up to this sight out of our window. There were over 25 balloons flying past.

On Wednesday afternoon I took the boys down to the common to watch some of the balloons inflating and taking off. Ben thought this was fabulous. We actually stood right next to the 3 main feature balloons (Darth Vader, Spooky House or Nightmare as it is really called and the Pirate one) and watched them inflate, man are they large!

The boys just loved the Spooky House and the Pirate one, although the Darth Vader one was very impressive. I love the Pirate one with his little flag and his cat because he didn't have a parrot!

On Thursday morning I was stupid enough to get up at 5.15am and go and watch the Dawn Parade, (I snuck out of the house, leaving the rest of the family sound a sleep in their warm beds!) this involved about 10 balloons taking off just before sunrise. As it was still dark it was like watching chinese lanterns light up the sky as they fired up the gas.

They were able to do this in the dark because not long after, the sun came up and this gave the pilots the ability to see where they could land, so all very safe.

Unfortunately for them, but not for the people of Hamilton, there was no wind on Thursday morning, so as everyone made their way to work they had the pleasure of witnessing 20 odd balloons just hovering over the lake area. The sky was filled and it was a spectactular sight.

The boys daycare is next to Steve's work and looks out over the lake, so you can imagine what all the children were doing in the room, glued to the window watching this amazing sight before them. Again the Spooky House and Darth Vader were floating the skies for them.
On Saturday evening there was a big free party at the University Grounds. It was an amazing turn out from everyone in Hamilton. Just as the sun had gone down they did a Night Glow. The balloons formed a semi circle and staying tethered to the ground (or cars because of the weight) they kept turning on the gas to light the balloon up in the dark. It was well done, but of course the fireworks that followed were even better. The boys just loved all of it.

Me I found the whole 5 days really great and made me love Hamilton even more than I already do.
Roll on next year, we are ready and waiting!

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