Mizumachi Hiroshi--Chairman of Saga International Balloon Festival
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I am very happy to have this opportunity to offer a few words on the occasion of the 2000 Saga International Balloon Fiesta. This Fiesta began in 1980, and this year we are proud to welcome the 21st Balloon Fiesta in Saga. Every year this Fiesta has taken place from November 20th , lasting 5 days. However, to guarantee the safe landing of balloons, as well as in order to create less interference with the local farming community the 21st Balloon Fiesta will take place at the beginning of November. For this reason, it seems that the preparations for the Balloon Fiesta not only need to be done sooner, but there are even more of them, but we have picked up the pace and are working to get everything done. Because of this, I sometimes wonder what kind of atmosphere we will have at this year's event, but my heart is jumping with excitement at all the things we will see. What makes this event so exciting is the hot air balloons and balloonists gathered from around the world, as well as all the many spectators who come to the Kase River launch site. To make this event truly a success I hope that the balloonist will try their best to score well, and the spectators will join in the fun at the many events.

Finally, the Saga International Balloon Fiesta would not be possible without the help and support of Saga Prefecture, Saga City, everyone at the Saga International Balloon Fiesta Management Committee, as well as our primary sponsor, the Honda Motor Corporation and the many other corporate sponsors who make the Balloon Fiesta possible. I would also like to thank the people of this area for their understanding and cooperation in the take off and landing of hot air balloons.
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