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2016 Taiwan International Balloon Festival to Paint the Skies of Luye from 7/1 to 8/7



Posted Unit:Taitung County Government



Best-Ever Opening Night Glow Concert on 7/2 at Longtian Landing Site 
First Taiwan International Balloon Challenge Cup to Be Held 7/2—7/6

Taiwan has been caught up in a hot air balloon frenzy over the past few years, and the leader of it all, Taitung County, continues to push the limits of excellence. More uniquely shaped balloons than ever before will be on display at the Luye Plateau for this year’s Taiwan International Balloon Festival from July 1 to August 8 this year (38 days). Furthermore, Taiwan’s first international balloon competition, the Taiwan International Balloon Challenge Cup, will take place from July 2 to 6. Every morning from 5:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on these five days, pilots from around the world will gather at the Luye Plateau in Taitung to exhibit their skills and keep spectators in excited anticipation.

The most magnificent part of the balloon festival each year is the moment when all the balloons take off simultaneously during the opening ceremony. This year, a record 31 balloons from 17 countries will participate in the opening, filling the skies of Luye with a brilliance never before seen in Taiwan that is sure to create memories and touch people’s hearts.

In addition, as the best model of a smart city in Taiwan, the Taitung County Government has arranged for online reservations for balloon rides. In an effort to provide better, smarter service to the 220,000 residents of Taitung and the 800,000 tourists that come annually for the balloon event, not only will the county government continue use of the iPass stored value card, the Taitung Fun Card will be also be made available this year. With online reservations for tethered flights, Taitung tourism is gradually making its way into the realm of e-service, accelerating Taitung’s pace toward becoming a smart city of international standards.

Greatest Night Glow Concert in Taiwan to Be Held at Longtian Landing Site 

Besides the 31-balloon take-off on the opening day, another chance to see the same number of balloons on display will be on July 2 at 7:30 p.m. during the opening night glow concert. The difference is that they will be transformed into spectacular, super-sized lanterns with the accompaniment of Western music classics at the Longtian landing site. If that’s not enough, the night glow concert will also be a dress up party venue. Think about the recent popularity of such things as “dinosaurs riding motorcycles”, dressing up as Spiderman, and the One Piece Run; if you have the guts, dress your part and express yourself on the hot air balloon stage. You can take pictures with the balloons and might even see yourself on the big screen! 

International Pilots to Compete in First Balloon Competition in Taiwan

In addition to the “first-evers” mentioned above, the first Taiwan International Balloon Challenge Cup will be held this year. The competition will be a series of accuracy contests, which are the most common form of balloon competition internationally. In such contests, two or three cross-shaped targets of 10 meters in diameter are placed on the ground a certain distance from the take-off point. When Taitung County Magistrate Justin Huang raises a green flag, the competitors will take off from the Luye Plateau toward the targets, and upon hovering over the targets, do their best to drop markers that weigh a mere 77 grams as close to the targets as possible. Markers closer to the targets will receive higher scores. Another form of the competition is for the officials to designate a drop area. Competitors must drop their markers from the drop area, and similarly, markers closer to the targets will receive higher scores. A bullseye will receive a score of 1,000 points.

These two types of competition are not only tests of pilots’ skills regarding navigation, understanding of changes in wind direction, and course angle, but also include the aspects of weather and wind that can change at any moment. Furthermore, the Racer balloon, a very unique balloon created specifically for competition, will make its debut during the competition. Its rugby ball shape decreases wind resistance, allowing it to rise and descend quickly. Another interesting balloon, the Solo balloon, has the unique trait of a basket big enough for only one person, one burner, and one propane tank.

For each competition, between one and four targets will be set based on the weather. After five days of competition, the competitor with the most points will be declared winner of the first Taiwan International Balloon Challenge Cup. Besides the trophy cup, the winner will also be awarded USD 5,000. Second place and third place will win respective prizes of USD 3,000 and USD 1,000.

Angel Aguirre, a Spanish pilot who has competed in and won numerous events over many years will serve as central flight commander for this competition between 26 world-class pilots from 15 countries that is sure to keep the eyes of spectators glued to the skies.

The competitors hail from Japan (1), Germany (1), the UK (1), Canada (1), the Netherlands (4), the US (1), Australia (2), France (1), Thailand (1), Vietnam (1), South Korea (2), Hungary (1), Switzerland (1), Belgium (2) and Taiwan (6).

15 Uniquely Shaped Balloons (Most Ever) Make Balloon Festival a Festival of Animals

Over the past five years, a total of over 3 million tourists have come to the Taiwan International Balloon Festival in Taitung. As the organizers of the biggest, most popular balloon event in Taiwan, the Taitung County Government has always sought to push the limits and create new experiences. In addition to the Taiwan International Balloon Challenge Cup and the record 31 balloons to take flight at the same time during the opening ceremony, a record number of uniquely shaped balloons (15) will make appearances at the event. Such balloons include an aquarium balloon, a kiwi bird, Noah’s Ark, and High Kitty from the US; a fox from Thailand; a rooster from the Netherlands; and an octopus, carp, and panda from Japan. The balloon festival will thus be turned into a veritable “festival of animals”! And with the boy and girl balloons from the UK that came in 2014 and 2015, visitors are sure to feel they are in a dreamlike fantasy world! 

※2016 Night Glow Concert Schedule
7/02 (Sat.) 19:30-21:00 at landing site in Longtian, Luye Township (opening)
7/09 (Sat.) 04:00-05:30 at Sanxiantai, Chenggong (sunrise concert)
7/16 (Sat.) 19:30-21:00 at the Zhiben hot springs area, Beinan Township 
7/23 (Sat.) 19:30-21:00 at Dapo Pond, Chishang Township
7/30 (Sat.) 04:00-05:30 at Sunrise Park, Taimali Township (sunrise concert)
8/07 (Sun.) 19:30-21:00 at the Taitung County Stadium, Taitung City (closing)

Schedule for Tethered Rides and Display of Uniquely Shaped Balloons
※Dates and hours:
Uniquely shaped balloons on display and tethered rides available:
Jul. 1—Aug. 8, 5:30—7:30 a.m. and 5:00—7:00 p.m. (weather permitting)
Uniquely shaped balloons on display but no tethered rides:
Jul. 1—6 morning (due to opening ceremony and Challenge Cup)
No balloons on display and no tethered rides at Luye Plateau:
Jul. 2 and Aug. 7 afternoon (due to night glow concerts on those days)

※For more information, please visit the official 2016 Taiwan International Balloon Festival online sites:
FB fan page: www.facebook.com/balloontaiwan
Event phone number: 089-346122 or 089-348920

Contacts: Hu Wenci, Taitung County Tourism Department, 089-324 902
Chen Zhengxian, Peace Marketing, 0937-981-379