"IT'S not Easter in Leeton until the hot air balloons go up".
If you've spent any amount of time in Leeton shire over the Easter period, chances are you would have heard that statement at least once or twice.
Locals will know it rings true as the hot air balloons are a special part of Leeton's Easter celebrations and the town's fabric every year.
However, when it is a Leeton SunRice Festival year, the hot air balloons play an even bigger role.
Not only do residents flock to the St Francis College ovals on dawn and dusk throughout the long weekend to see the balloons take off, many also take rides as well, but the balloonists also take part in the festival street parade.
On Easter Sunday comes the balloon glow, weather permitting, but this event is something thousands of residents and visitors of all ages enjoy and, in 2022, it is set to be no different.
So far this Easter long weekend the balloons have already proven popular with crowds who have been watching them inflate every morning and evening before they take off for a flight.
Others have followed them by car, taking many photographs in the process.
There's still plenty of time to see the balloons, including at today's Easter Saturday The Irrigator street parade where the balloon baskets are loaded on the back of a trailer or vehicle and pilots set off the gas and fire much to the delight of those watching on the sidelines.
Then tomorrow on Easter Sunday the balloon glow and twilight markets will get underway at the town ovals from 3pm.
A gold coin donation is required to enter the glow and markets, but the street parade is, as always, a free event.
More information about the weekend's Leeton SunRice Festival can be found at www.facebook.com/LeetonSunRiceFestival.
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