Rain fails to deflate crowd’s mood at hot air balloon fest

THE Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, being one of the most popular event in Penang, is back!

Ardent fans of hot air balloon thronged the festival at Padang Polo despite the rain in the evening.

There were exciting events happening in Penang this evening (Feb 9). The Miao Hui Chinese New Year celebration in George Town and the Penang Ban Ka Lan Chinese New Year celebration at the Snake Temple also managed to draw huge crowds to their events.

The governor (3rd from left) beating the LED drum to launch the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2019

Back to Padang Polo, Penang Governor Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas was given the honour to launch the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta by beating the LED drum five times. The symbolic gesture signifies the return of the fiesta for the fifth consecutive year.

There was a slight change in the launching gimmick as the Night Glow Show had to be replaced with a fire display due to strong wind.

Fireworks were also displayed during the launch.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was present, said the state government constantly introduced new attractions in Penang.

“The tourism sector is important to Penang as it plays a pivotal role in contributing to the state’s economy.

“We hope that with the efforts taken by the state government pertaining to tourism, they will provide a good social economic development.

“I hope that the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta will continue to be the highlight in the Penang Tourism calendar,” Chow said.

Also present were state Tourism Development, Heritage, Culture and Arts Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, Penang Global Tourism (PGT) chief executive officer Ooi Chok Yan, state assemblymen and Penang Island City Council (MBPP) councillors.

Beautiful display of mini lanterns at the Polo Ground

International balloonists from United States, Brazil, Spain, Belgium, Slovakia, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan also participated in the event.

Those who missed the fun today (Feb 9) can still enjoy it tomorrow (Feb 10) at Padang Polo (Polo Ground) from 7am to 9pm.

Story by Tanushalini Moroter
Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad