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UP, UP & AWAY: BRISTOL INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA

Bristol Balloon Festival Photo

Be sure to mark August 7 - 10 in the diaries folks, as what might be the most fun event ever is set to take place in beautiful Bristol! The annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta - amazingly in its 36th year - will see a host of hot-air ballooning enthusiasts descend (quite literally!) on the city's beautiful Ashton Court Estate. And while these experts - who'll be visiting from all over the world - light up the sky with their colourful balloons, there'll be plenty happening on the ground too to keep punters entertained.

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But first, some ballooning history! The man behind the first Fiesta was an aeronautical engineer named Don Cameron, who came to the city in the early '60s to join the Bristol Aeroplane Company. While there, he met some fellow ballooning fans and together they designed the 'Bristol Belle'; the first modern hot-air balloon in Western Europe. Don loved ballooning so much that he went on to set up Cameron Balloons Ltd, and then, organise the first Fiesta in 1979.

And he clearly hasn't looked back! Today, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta attracts over 100 hot-air balloons, and is visited by more than 500,000 members of the public. It's no surprise, as there really is something for everyone at this four-day extravaganza. Make sure to head along to 'Breakfast & Balloons' at 6am (Friday, Saturday, Sunday); where you can enjoy tea and toast as the balloons rise into the sky at sunrise. Or, if early mornings aren't your thing (we understand!), stunning evening nightglows on the Thursday and Saturday will see tethered balloons lit up against a backdrop of fireworks and music.

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There'll also be a Band Stand, where a whole host of local musicians will do their thing, while food stalls will offer up tasty artisan foods, beer and wine. If you're feeling adventurous, you're welcome to take a spin in a balloon - just remember to book in advance as this will no doubt be popular! Ashton Court Estate is easily accessible by both car and public transport - find out more about the event and how to get there, here.

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