Lots of hot air: National Ballooning Championships set to ascend in Avon Valley

The skies above the Avon Valley will be alight with hot air balloons soon.
Balloons all aglow.
The skies above the Avon Valley will be alight with hot air balloons soon. Balloons all aglow.

JUST three weeks to go until the Avon Valley glows 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 pit their flying skills at varying winds and altitudes.

The family fiesta on the first Saturday of the event opens at 4pm on 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 the 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 10 metre 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 the event website at www.northamnationals.com.

Among the challengers to defending champion Matt Scaife in ‘Felix’ will be ladybug balloon flown by pilot Claire O’Brien, 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.

What: National Ballooning Championships

When: September 2-9

Where: Northam Aero Club