The annually anticipated Fiesta returned to thrill thousands of visitors with in-air and on-ground activities
GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia 6 FEBRUARY 2017 – Two days, 16 hot air balloons piloted by balloonists of 8 different nationalities and some 170,000 visitors later, the 3rd Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta ended on a high note with balloonists and crew cheering along with visitors as music played and balloons illuminated the sky.
Held from Saturday to Sunday, 4-5 February 2017, the Fiesta’s ground at Padang Polo, Georgetown saw pleasant weather over the two days, with daily balloon display filling the airspace with whimsical shapes and colours.
Among the favourites this year was the Rooster flown by Tawin Dumkhum and Tako II, a red octopus shaped balloon flown by Koji Ota from Japan who expressed his pleasure in attending the Penang Fiesta: “This is my first time coming to Malaysia. The Fiesta has been a very well-run event from the start. Penang is a very beautiful and unique place– I would come back anytime,” he said. The Fiesta also saw first time participation from “Simba the Lion” balloon flown by Lowie Vanluffelen from Belgium, who was charmed by the Malaysian hospitality he received: “Malaysian people have been very friendly, helpful and welcoming,” said the Simba pilot.
This year’s Fiesta featured not just an amazing line-up of international balloonists but also first-time and upgraded activities that attracted visitors of all ages and from all walks of life. The entirety of the Fiesta ground was strewn with families setting up picnic mats on the grass, trying to secure themselves a good viewing spot of the gentle giants. Needless to say, the Fiesta continued to attract both Malaysian and international visitors, with the weekend seeing a sharp influx in the number of visitors. The crowd comprised of 170,000 attendees; 100,000 being the number on Sunday alone. The focal point of the Fiesta, the Balloon Display area was especially busy as the entire perimeter of the area was crowded with spectators taking pictures of themselves with their favourite balloons.
CEO of AKA Balloon Sdn Bhd, Nur Izzati Khairudin was ecstatic over the response and hopes to continue growing the event: “With the weather on our side, this has been the biggest crowd attendance we’ve had over the years. The excitement for the balloons shown from both local and foreign visitors has been nothing short of outstanding.” she said.
Organisers of the 3rd Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta once again acknowledge the paramount contributions and commitment of the Fiesta’s sponsors and partners: Penang State Government (as Endorser), City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) and Penang Global Tourism (as Event Supporter), TLM Event (as co-organiser), Mix FM, LiteFM, SinarFM and MelodyFM (as Official Radio Stations), IJM Land Bhd (as sponsor), Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd (as Official Vehicle), Grab and Penang Hop-On Hop Off (as Partners) and in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia.
As per previous years, general admission to the Fiesta was free with prices for selected attractions such as crowd favorite “Tethered Balloon Ride” at RM50 per person and “Cold Inflation” or walking in the balloon with just RM 5 per person. Social media was abuzz with posts with the official hashtag #PenangHotAirBalloonFiesta. To keep a lookout for information on next year’s Fiesta, bookmark the Fiesta website www.penanghotairballoonfiesta.com and follow the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta on Facebook.