Tamil Nadu govt to organise 3-day hot air balloon fest in Pollachi: balloons from across the globe heading towards T.N.

Tamil Nadu tourism minister M Mathiventhan, while inaugurating the TN hotel rooms and restaurant in Coimbatore’s Gandhipuram on Monday, announced that the tourism department would be conducting a three-day hot air balloon festival in Pollachi during Pongal.

The minister, along with other tourism officials, went to Achipatti near Pollachi to inspect one of the proposed sites for the balloon festival which is scheduled in January. The Tamil Nadu International Balloon Festival (TNIBF) will be held between January 13 and 15, 2023.

The festival is being planned like a family carnival so that adults and kids have a great time during Pongal. “During the festival, the department has decided to conduct cultural events in the evenings,” said Minister Mathiventhan. The hot air balloon festival is being conducted by the tourism department in association with Global Media Box.

Benedict Savio of Global Media Box told the press, “This festival will be inaugurated on January 12 and is planned over three days. There are about 10 hot air balloons from about eight international countries, like the UK, US and Netherlands, which are participating. The hot air balloon rides are typically conducted early in the morning and in the evening,” he said.

Three balloons will have a special shape. One of them is a ‘Dino’ balloon, resembling a dinosaur, from Brazil. Another is a ‘Smurf’ cartoon balloon from Belgium and the last one is a ‘Blue Bear’ balloon from Canada. “Pilots from across the globe are visiting Pollachi to fly these balloons. There is one woman pilot coming from the Netherlands. She is the only woman pilot who has been coming to Tamil Nadu for all the eight editions,” Mr. Savio said. Sandeep Nanduri, managing director of Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), said: “This event will be like a family carnival for all age groups. Visitors can also see the Tamil Nadu Tourism Balloon.”

“We are also looking [to organise] a helicopter ride during the event, and are talking to vendors for this,” he added. Over 25,000 people visited the previous festival, which happened before the COVID-19 pandemic. The organisers are expecting a higher footfall this year. The festival will take place with the support of the State’s Department of Tourism

The average height of the balloons will range from 60 feet to over 100 feet. “These balloons are similar to aircraft, and are made in companies that manufacture aircraft with the permission of the civil aviation authority,” Mr. Savio said.

In the evenings from January 13 to 15, there will be a music band performance. On January 13, the audience will get to see the famous band Thaikuddam Bridge perform. On January 14, it will be musician Rajesh Vaidya. On January 15, the Super Singer performers and winners will perform live.

The entry ticket for adults is Rs 100, while it is free for children below the age of 12. Benedict Savio added, “There is a special kids’ play area also, so that they don’t miss out on any fun.”

Sandeep Nanduri, Tourism Director and the Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, confirmed that the gala balloon festival at Pollachi will have all these exciting programmes.

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