Canowindra hot air balloon festival shaping as the biggest yet

Next month’s Canowindra International Challenge hot air ballooning festival is poised to be the most successful yet, Cabonne Mayor Kevin Beatty said today.
Cr Beatty said the Challenge was now one of the premier tourism events in NSW and promised to be even bigger and better when it is held from 21-29 April 2018.
“Any festival that attracts thousands of people and has regularly injected more than $1 million a year into a country town’s economy is something very special,” he said.
The Mayor said Cabonne Council was proud to be a major sponsor of the festival for a number of years and had allocated $20,000 from its Events Assistance Program to help promote this year’s Challenge.
“You only have to look at what this festival returns to the community to see it is a very sound investment,” he said.
Some of the world’s elite hot air balloon pilots will be participating in a range of events. This year balloonists from the USA, France, England and New Zealand will compete against Australia’s best.
“The status of the Canowindra International Challenge continues to grow on the international ballooning calendar, which is helping to put Canowindra and Cabonne Country well and truly on the tourism map, not only in Australia but overseas,” Cr Beatty said.
One of the highlights of the festival will be the Cabonne Country Balloon Glow which will be held at the Canowindra Showground on Saturday 28 April 2018.
Organisers have moved the balloon glow from the Canowindra Sports Ground, where it has been held in recent years, to the showground to cater for the growing number of spectators.
Canowindra Challenge chairman Graham Kerr said the new venue enabled the organisers to expand the program to include a concert after the balloon glow to provide even more entertainment for spectators.
Mr Kerr said a big jump in the number of campers coming into Canowindra was another indication of the event’s popularity.
“The number of people camping at the showground during the Challenge has quadrupled this year, with 250 sites fully booked for the week,” he said.