More hot-air balloons at this year Taunggyi balloon festival

Writer: 
Sithar (Taunggyi)
Caption: A hot-air balloon for this year Taunggyi balloon festival.

There are more hot air balloons for this year’s famous Taunggyi balloon festival compared to last year according to Dr. Than Win, chairman of Hot-air balloons association and member of organizing committee for hot-air balloons festival.

For setting the date of the festival in 2018, a meeting will be convened on September 23 and Kanbawza Bank will be participating with 4 hot-air balloons of their own. Therefore, spectators will get to enjoy more balloons  this year.

New rules were also drawn for teams competing in the hot-air balloon festival. Ready-made explosive materials will be prohibited. The opening hole of a hot-air balloon must be made with just bamboo and the usage of steel or aluminum will be prohibited. The rest of the rules are the same as last year. There are about 15 hot-air balloons under construction only at the first week of September. Some are done with preparations and test runs on processes like ignitions have been examined, he said.

“The numbers of hot-air balloons have increased more than last year. At the meeting, I’ll submit the difficulties faced by public such as high rates of charges on motor cycle and car parking. We’ll have to make new arrangements for this year festival,” he continued.

For the safety of people and to avoid fire from breaking out, suprise checks will be carried out before the festival started. Every team has have fire retardant materials and fire extinguishers, he added.

The Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival is a famous festival for both local and foreign visitors that take place in the capital of Shan State every November. It is held around the Full Moon of Tazaungmone, a Myanmar national holiday that marks the end of the rainy season. It is also known as the Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights.

The hot air balloon contest itself was started by British colonialists in the late 19th century.

The weeklong event is scheduled in Taunggyi, which is just north of Inle Lake. Hot-air balloons are made of paper, with fire as a fuel source, and adorned with candles or dangling fireworks.

The balloons themselves are beautifully hand-made, into animal shapes or various shapes, by a number of teams who are entered into a competition for prize money. Prices were increased since last year. About Ks.100, 000 to Ks.500, 000 were added than the previous amount prizes.