Is there a more iconic sight of Bristol than its sky filled with hot-air balloons? We can’t think of one. And ahead of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, making a triumphant return August 11 to 14, Bristolians were treated to the sight once more. Taking off from two secret locations, there was a teasing display of 30 balloons flying high on Monday morning (August 1).
This continues the Fiesta’s popular community launches from last year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Fiesta Fortnight was held instead of the festival. And the people of Bristol were asked to nominate locations they would like to see balloons launch from. This included local parks, public spaces, car parks and streets, as these ballooning spectacles took off from different spots across the city.
While the festival will return this August, after a two year break, so have the community launches. The public submitted over 1,000 entries for this year’s edition, but the local residents of Vassell’s Park in Fishponds and Cleve Rugby Club in Emerson’s Green were the lucky winners. They woke early in the morning to the sounds and sights of various hot-air balloons launching in their communities.
Bristol’s keen balloon-spotters would have been able to catch glimpses of the new Huboo Fulfilment Balloon and the signature stripes of fashion brand Paul Smith. Locals could also spot Fiesta favourites Thatchers, SoGlos Cricket, Safari Black Panther and Cameron Balloon, among many more, at the 6am launch.
“It’s so important to us that everyone gets to experience the Balloon Fiesta, especially communities that rarely get balloons overhead,” said Christoper Allcock, chair of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. “For these communities, it can be tricky to make it all the way to South Bristol for the Fiesta, and to see the joy on their faces when the balloons take off is exactly why we do this.”
This is all, obviously, building towards the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta later this month at Ashton Court Estate. It is one of the city’s most iconic events, normally attracting more than 100,000 visitors, with a huge range of entertainment to keep Fiesta-goers engaged through the weekend. There are no shuttle buses this year, however, as the Fiesta has encouraged people to walk or cycle. But parking spaces are still available to purchase. For more information on the Fiesta click here.