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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) . . Page.. 1140 ..

We saw an effective advertising campaign by the ACT government around Enlighten. During the preceding Asian Cup and Cricket World Cup matches, with many played at Bruce stadium and Manuka Oval, people travelled to and looked at what Canberra had to offer. The Enlighten night noodle markets and the full Enlighten program were released between December and February. This timing for a dedicated local and national media campaign is a key part of the reason the event was so successful and why so many people travelled to Canberra.

To add to the huge success of Enlighten, the 2015 Canberra Balloon Spectacular is another example of a burgeoning culture in Canberra. As a free event, the Balloon Spectacular remains a fantastic community celebration of colour, sound and movement that offers plenty of excitement on the ground and in the air. Canberra’s vast array of national attractions and Lake Burley Griffin were on show, forming a stunning backdrop for the event. Social media engagements associated with the Canberra Balloon Spectacular continue to flourish. Beautiful photographs, social media success and online news coverage ensured widespread local, national and international exposure across the nine-day event.

There was also a great partnership built with traditional media. The Balloon Spectacular partnered with the Today show in 2014 and again this year, with the Balloon Spectacular broadcast to a national television audience on the opening Saturday. Two very popular, special-shaped balloons need to be acknowledged: Yoda from Star Wars and the Angry Birds balloon. Kids young and old are Star Wars fans. Girls and boys, men and women were able to enjoy Yoda’s presence in our skies. An enjoyable experience it was. These special shapes were among more than 30 giant hot air balloons that took part in the 2015 show and lit up the Canberra sky with colour.

The Balloon Spectacular was also an opportunity to spruik some of Canberra’s other cultural goods. The Forage food market, founded and run by the creative and energetic Belinda Neame, catered for the event and featured an array of local traders. The Canberra Raiders, the Canberra Cavalry, the Canberra Capitals and Canberra United also had a presence on the day, providing activities and autograph signing. The Canberra Balloon Spectacular wrapped up on Sunday, 15 March, with over 40,000 people attending from around Canberra and interstate. This is an increase of over 10,000 people since last year alone.

The Canberra Day festivities also showcased Canberra’s new look and some of its newer locations.

I would also like to briefly acknowledge the work done to accommodate local Canberra content for the festival. The headline act, Safia, originating from Canberra, were a highlight of the day and, notably, gave our Chief Minister a brief opportunity to be part of a boy band. Approximately 20,000 people attended the Canberra Day events—a huge success.

All these events have been carried out on the back of a record-breaking Floriade and the hugely successful summer of sport, already discussed in this place, which included seven Asian Cup and three Cricket World Cup matches. And with Westside Acton Park opening, Canberra as a cultural centre is beginning to flourish.

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