The last time a hot air balloon festival was held in Levin was in 2016. Photo: Charles Bagnall
A three-day balloon festival in Levin is planned for the Queen’s birthday weekend next year.
The organizers of the new “Fire Up Levin” have confirmed the June 2023 date for the balloon’s resurrection, after initially
hoping to hold the event on labor weekend this year.
But what is another year? It’s been a long time since its popular predecessor, Light Up Levin, successfully held every year from 2005 to 2016, when it was last held.
Event organizer and student balloon pilot Glen Smith said he was amazed at how organically panning for a new festival happened.
“I never planned on having a balloon festival, it just happened. The event was originally about bringing a few balloons to Levin on a long weekend and flying, weather permitting, and it went from there,” he said.
“Without our incredible committee, the idea would never have had a chance to become a reality.”
“Our plan was to hold the first balloon festival over Labor weekend this year, but with the continued challenges we face with Covid and restrictions and our latest lockdown, that has put us behind schedule.
“Last month we took the decision to change the dates of the festival for the Queen’s birthday weekend as we need calm and stable weather for the ballooning and Labor weekend has tends to be a windy time of year.
“We are still in the planning stages for the festival and are currently working to secure the necessary funding to hold the festival.
“Levin is a great place to fly hot air balloons and we want this event to continue for a long time to come. Our plan is to have a hot air balloon festival every two years and bring something new to each festival, which means that no two festivals will be the same.
“We have great ideas for future events. One of our future goals for the event will be to bring special-shaped balloons to the festival, including international balloon pilots like America and Australia.
“During the festival each morning – weather permitting – balloons will fly from different locations around Levin where they will participate in a series of games.”
On Saturday, June 3, there will be a night glow where the balloons will be lit on the ground.
“This is a family event where you can see the balloons light up to the sound of music. There will be kiddie rides, live music and the chance to see some amazing supercars – Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens and more.
“Others will be confirmed closer to the time and ticket sales at the door the same day. If we cannot hold the festival on Saturday, it will be postponed to Sunday [June] 4th,” he said.
Sunday will be a fun day, where visitors can meet and greet the pilots and see the balloons up close. The festival will also be broadcast live on Tick Tok and the organizers will be able to answer your questions about the hot air balloons.
On Monday June 5, the last day of the festival, hot air balloon enthusiasts are planning a mass ascent, which Glen says they will discuss more as the festival approaches.
“Make sure you get up early to see them and we will update our Facebook page every day if the balloons will be flying and the best places to see them,” he said.
“If you haven’t already, follow us on Facebook, this way you will be kept up to date, including the competitions we are organizing.
Festival organizers are also looking for volunteers, Glen said.
“If you would like to be part of our amazing team, please email us at [email protected]”