Find us in the clouds this summer as the sensational Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is set to return to its home at Ashton Court Estate to celebrate its 44th year from August 11 to 14. Europe’s largest annual ballooning event will once again attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world to witness one of the most stunning sights in the UK, with mass balloon ascents at 6am and 6pm and two iconic nightglows lighting up summer.
Last year saw Bristol International Balloon Fiesta host a ‘Fiesta Fortnight’ instead with flypasts and ballooning spectaculars taking off from different spots across the city. The organisers made a call out asking the people of Bristol to nominate the locations that they would like to see balloons launch from, which included local parks, public spaces, car parks and streets.
The spectacular free event on the mansion grounds will feature four days of over 100 hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes taking off at dusk and dawn, taking in views of the city including if the wind direction allows, views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Plans are already underway to make this a year to remember for balloon enthusiasts and keen spectators. As well as the balloon ascents, there is entertainment for all the family, throughout the day including aerial displays, children’s activities and entertainment, fairground rides, delicious food stalls and bars, balloon tethering and demonstrations, model aircraft displays and a local music stage.
Costa Coffee will return with their Summer experience ‘A Coffee With’, where alongside grabbing a hot or cold drink from one of their Costa Express machines, you can meet pilots, explore inside inflated hot air balloons and catch storytelling and crafts for all the family. The Costa Coffee team will also be fuelling the pilots ahead of their flights and helping to bring last year’s incredibly popular community flights back for a second year.
Bristolians will be able to nominate locations for pre-fiesta balloon lifts from their local parks, school grounds and open spaces, bringing colourful hot air balloons to the skies across Bristol. On Thursday and Sunday night the famous Nightglows will return, which see the balloons light up in time with a soundtrack provided by BBC Radio Bristol, followed by a spectacular firework display.
Don Cameron, founder and chairman of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, commented: “After a difficult two years for our communities and of course many of our balloonists, we are delighted to be bringing the fiesta back home to Ashton Court. We are hoping for sunny skies and light winds as many new balloons will take to the skies, alongside some old favourites from the UK and lots of international destinations. We’re proud to be able to continue putting on a show for Bristol and helping put the city on the map as a ballooning capital.”
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is one of the city’s most iconic events, normally attracting more than 100,000 visitors to Ashton Court and generating around £15 million for the city and region.