Up, up, almost away
THERE are just three weeks until the Avon Valley will be filled with hot air balloons for the week-long National Ballooning Championships hosted by Northam Aero Club.
More than 30 international, interstate and local hot air balloon pilots will descend on Northam in the first week of September to test their flying skills at varying winds and altitudes.
The family fiesta on the first Saturday of the event will open at 4pm with a stage show, balloon discovery zone, carnival rides and games, along with market stalls and show bags.
Not to be missed later that day is the balloon glow with musical accompaniment and a fireworks finale at Henry Street Oval.
Spectators are invited to see a kaleidoscope of brightly coloured balloons soar over hill and dale at dawn until 9am and again in the afternoons. Another highlight will be the key grab competition on the last day, when pilots leave the airfield at first light to fly from point to point, collecting foam ‘keys’ from the ends of 10m poles.
The championships course and the best viewing spots will vary according to wind conditions.
Spectators are asked to visit Northam Nationals on Facebook for the latest flight details and learn more about competitors via www. northamnationals.com.
Among the challengers to defending champion Matt Scaife in ‘Felix’ will be a ladybug balloon flown by pilot Claire O’Brien, a soccer ball piloted by Ed Saunders and Russia’s Andrei Kulkov in Hola.
The 2017 National Ballooning Championships are supported by the State Government through Tourism WA’s regional events program, Northam Shire and other local sponsors.