/ Staff writer, with CNA
Thirty-nine hot air balloons from Taiwan and abroad are to participate in this year’s Taiwan International Balloon Festival in Taitung County’s Luye Township （鹿野）, the county government said yesterday,
The festival is to be held from June 30 to Aug. 13, it said.
Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang （黃健庭） extended this year’s festival by one week to 45 days to draw more visitors and boost the tourism sector in eastern Taiwan, Taitung Tourism Bureau Director Chiang Hui-ching （江慧卿） said.
Concerts with different themes are to be held at venues across the county, including Luye Terrace, Chiang said.
A special show is to be staged this year in conjunction with an open house at Taitung Air Force Base, combining hot air balloons with a display of military aircraft and a musical performance.
A light show and concert would be held at National Taitung University Library, which was named one of eight unique national libraries worldwide by architecture Web site architizer.com, Chiang said.
The festival would feature several hot air balloons from abroad shaped as landmarks or movie characters, including Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, the Minions from the 2010 animated film Despicable Me and the hot air balloon seen in the 2009 animated movie Up.
A hot air balloon shaped like an English bulldog is to make its world debut at the festival, while balloons modeled after the Tourism Bureau’s mascot OhBear and Pxmart’s Free Bear are to be featured as well, Chiang said.
A bee-shaped hot air balloon prepares to take off at a Taiwan International Balloon Festival in an undated photograph. Photo courtesy of THE Taitung County Government