On a high at Northam Balloon Festival

Published on 04 Sep 2023


Hot air balloons at the festival

The world’s best female ballooning pilots have descended on WA’s picturesque Avon Valley in Northam to compete in the 5th FIA Women’s World Hot Air Ballooning Championships (2-9 September), the first time the Championship has been staged outside the Northern Hemisphere.


As part of these Championships was the Northam Festival of Ballooning – a tailor-made music, entertainment and international food festival hosted by the Shire of Northam.

This event on 2 September incorporated the Championship’s Opening Ceremony and official welcome to competitors.

The APM Communities team in Northam were invited to be part of this inaugural event through their provision of a dedicated quiet zone for people with sensory issues to chill out and unwind before heading to or during the event.


northam balloon festival


Chris Antionio, CEO of the Shire of Northam opened the Festival and introduced the Ballooning Championship Pilots of 30 women from 13 nations using vintage cars to carry them to the stage with their international Flags, led by Northam Primary school students.

As part of the festival there were numerous stalls, rides, international food vendors and community information stands as well as live music and balloons everywhere! APM Communities had over 30 people visit their quiet zone marquee, taking advantage of the dedicated space to chill out and to enjoy giveaways such as moulding putting, bubbles and pop-its.

Mykala Nelson, Team Leader from APM Communities in Northam said "the space was a great way to connect with the community who needed extra support as well as seeking information on how to access the NDIS. This event was also planned for people with disability with a whole section dedicated to ACROD parking allowing greater access."

"This was the second event in as many months that we have collaborated with the Shire of Northam to make their events more accessible and inclusive, and the outcomes have been so positive – plus it was such a treat to watch the balloons float across the Northam sky!"


As part of the NDIS Partners in the Community program, APM Communities help people with disability in several regions in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to access support.

Our Local Area Coordinators (LACs) help people with disability, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, families and carers to identify and access the support they need.