《TAIPEI TIMES》Opening of hot air balloon festival draws 10,000 people
/ Staff writer, with CNA
Nearly 10,000 people at sunrise yesterday attended the opening of the 10th Taiwan International Balloon Festival, the Taitung County Government said.
Eighteen hot air balloons gathered at the Luye Highland for the opening ceremony, which took place at about 5:30am, while crowds gathered to watch 11 of the hot air balloons take off.
Among the invited guests was American Institute in Taiwan （AIT） Director Brent Christensen, who took a ride on one of the balloons with Taitung County Commissioner Yao Ching-ling （饒慶鈴）.
This year’s festival features 10 local balloons and 28 from overseas, 10 of which are making their Taiwan debut at the event, the Taitung Tourism Department said.
Festival visitors can expect to see five or six balloons with distinctive shapes being displayed every day and another five or six tethered balloons providing short rides over the Luye Highland until the festival concludes on Aug. 30.
Rides on untethered balloons must be reserved in advance with the balloon operators.
The balloons are also to be part of a series of light shows and concerts, organizers said, adding that the first event, which is this evening, would include fireworks.
The county said that visitors still need to follow disease prevention measures, such as washing their hands, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns.