Friday, 11, August 2017
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- Bristol Harbourside
Bristol Balloon Fiesta
Our guide to Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons
With 150 balloons setting off from an old country estate, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta is four days of free family fun. This is our guide to Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons
The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Europe’s largest hot air balloon gathering, is one of the great sights to behold in Bristol. With more than 130 balloons drifting peacefully into the sky above the Avon Gorge and its famous Clifton Suspension Bridge the fiesta is more than just a lot of hot air.
Bristol Balloon Fiesta by Paul Townsend
When: This year, the 39th time Bristol has seen its skies filled with balloons for one weekend in August, the famous fiesta takes place between 10th and 133h August 2017 and it promises to be the best year yet. Friday 6am-8.30pm, Saturday 6am-10.30pm, Sunday 6am-8.30pm.
Where: The balloons will be setting off from the historic Ashton Court Estate, just over the suspension bridge from the regency splendour of Clifton
What to do: Although the balloons take centre stage, the event is about far more than the brightly coloured flying contraptions.
Arena Entertainment – the Aerobatic Aeroplane Display has become a firm favourite over recent years, with Rich Goodwin’s incredible specially modified biplane perform a display of high speed twists and turns high above the arena. That’s not to mention 25 year veterans of the show, the Exit Parachute Display Team, as well as the Brietling Wingwalkers and the Parabatic Flying Display Team. For those seeking less adrenaline fuelled entertainment, miniature remote controlled hot air balloons can be seen floating around the arena throughout the weekend.
Aerobatics by Andy Oakley
Happy’s Circus – This professional all human circus comes to the fiesta every year to provide traditional family entertainment in their 600 seat all weather Big Top. From plate spinning, aerial silks and plate spinning to their renowned double diablo, illusion and hi-bicycle alongside clowns and a Comedy Rolla Roller this is the hottest ticket in town.
Nightglows and Firework Finale – Perhaps the most iconic moments for attendees, the famous nightglows are the highlight of the fiesta. With dozens of balloons tethered together lighting up the sky to a specially-commissioned soundtrack like rows of giant lightbulbs, this event culminates in a spectacular firework finale.
Nightglow by Andrewp303
Balloon Lifts – The most magical part of the festival, these morning and afternoon lifts see hundreds of balloons float magestically into the sky and across Bristol. Best enjoyed with breakfast or an afternoon snack from one of the hot food outlets on the site.
Balloon Lift by Sam Saunders
All images from Flickr.