Andhra Pradesh

Thousands expected at Hot Air Balloon festival

Hub of excitement Work apace at Bosubeda village in Araku for the three-day balloon festival.

Hub of excitement Work apace at Bosubeda village in Araku for the three-day balloon festival.   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK;K_R_DEEPAK -

The basic ethos is to promote Araku; a team of 24 foreigners with pilots and support staff to participate

The stage is set for the spectacular Araku Hot Air Balloon Festival to be held from November 14 to 16 in the green valleys of the Eastern Ghats.

The festival is an initiative of the State government organised in collaboration with the E-Factor and SkyWaltz at a cost of ₹3 crore and will provide a one-of-a-kind view of the valley never experienced before. Forty-two luxury tents are being set up at a one-acre area earmarked for the camping site. With less than a week to go for the festival to begin, work is going on at a brisk pace at the camping site located at a distance of two km from Bosubeda village near Araku where four tractors, one bull dozer and two JCBs are levelling virgin area for the tents. The launch site of the festival is located five km from the camping site.

With 13 countries and 15 air balloons participating in the festival, the event is expected to draw a huge crowd from various parts of the country to the valley.

Sharing details with The Hindu, Samit Garg, founder and CEO of the E-Factor, said, “The basic ethos of conducting the hot air balloon event is to promote the destination. A team of 24 foreigners with pilots and support staff and a 40-member media team will be arriving in the city for the festival. The passenger traffic for commercial hot air balloon is growing at a rate of 15-20% annually. Araku has tremendous potential to push it further.”

Three specially shaped balloons — Iwi, the kiwi from New Zealand, Neptuno, the sea horse from Brazil and Bee from Belgium — will be a part of the festival. The exhilarating balloon ride will start from the launch site at 7.30 a.m. on all three days and take the people on a 45-minute ride through the skies of Araku at a height of 500 feet to 2,000 feet. This apart every evening, 200 people can get to experience a five-seven minute sortie in balloons tethered to the ground, allowing them to float a few metres above the ground. The remaining balloons will be a part of the night glow event wherein they will be set up at sunset in the launch area with the propane burners ignited to keep the balloons inflated with hot air.

Balloon ride

For the general public there will be a lucky draw to participate in the balloon ride. All the rides are free of cost. The website arakuballoonfestival.com will go live from Wednesday where interested people can log in and take part in the lucky draw.

“Every day five winners will be selected through the lucky draw, who can experience the 45-minute hot air balloon ride. For the evening sortie on tether, a similar draw will be held every day and 200 people will get a chance to experience it every evening. To participate in the tether, people can walk into the camping site and drop their name and numbers in the lucky box,” Mr Garg said. Among other highlights, there will be para-motoring display from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on all three days of the festival. Camp fire, music, dance and food are set to enliven the valley for the three days of the festival.

The event has already created a lot of buzz among the people with several organisations from other parts of the State organising photography tours surrounding the festival.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 1:10:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/thousands-expected-at-hot-air-balloon-festival/article19999634.ece

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