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New balloon festivals planned across the world

Hot air ballooning is growing in popularity, which is highlighted by the many international cities that have recently announced plans to host inaugural balloon events. The first Penang Hot Air Balloon Festival will be held on February 21st and 22nd. In total, 15 balloons are expected to take part, including famous shape balloons like Humpty Dumpty and Darth Vader. The event is being held as a part of a drive to increase tourist numbers. Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang, said:
"We are planning to make this programme an annual event which can attract more tourists to the state. I hope there can be more such programmes, which will increase the number of tourists to Penang.”
In other parts of the world, there are plans to reinstate local hot air balloon related events. Some are large-scale festivities, while others, such as in the Canadian town of Cupar in Saskatchewan, are more intimate. Up until a decade ago, every year it rained gophers in Cupar. The creatures were actually soft toys dropped from a hot air balloon, with each numbered and aimed at a hole with a corresponding figure. The owners of those that landed closest were awarded prizes. This popular event only stopped due to a lack of volunteers, although residents are now asking for it to be reinstated. Balloons should also fly again over Colorado Springs, Colorado, this 7th September, or US Labor Day. Last year, the company that ran the event for the previous 40 announced that it was leaving. However, another firm has just announced that it will host the event in 2015.
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