Hot air balloon festival for southern China


Haikou, June 16 - Hot air balloon enthusiasts on Friday joined in the Qiongzhou Strait challenge and the first Haikou hot air balloon festival in the southern Chinese island of Hainan.


The three-day event is themed as "Meeting The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Building a Harmonious Haikou". The 10 participating contestants are China's top athletes in the hot air balloon arena.


This is the first hot air balloon festival for Haikou, the island province's capital, and has attracted at least 1,000 residents who watched folk dance performances at the opening ceremony.


Cruise voyages of 10 cars each carrying a hot air balloon nacelle respectively and throwing flame in unison passed downtown areas after the opening ceremony.


Early on Friday morning, nearly 500 locals gathered on the Haikou People's Square and waited for balloon rides.


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