The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 130 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe. It is held on the second weekend in August for 4 days and is the highlight of every Bristolians calender. This was my first year attending as press and I was bursting with excitement to attend my first 6 am ascent. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas this year and the scheduled morning ascent on Friday 9th was not going ahead and was rescheduled for Thursday morning.
I set my alarm for 3 am and left the house at 3.45am for the drive to Bristol Ashton Court to collect my press pass. I was not going to miss what was likely to be the only assent for the whole weekend. When I eventually arrived on site ( the one-way system is a nightmare and I missed my turning soo many times!!) the atmosphere was electric. The excitement on the balloon field was so infectious and I felt like a kid on Christmas morning!
The field looks very unimpressive when I first arrived, a field of deflated balloons and land rovers everywhere. Whispers are heard double guessing if the balloons will be given the all-clear to fly. The announcer comes over the speakers to let us know a decision has been made. Coloured smoke will fill the air with the board’s decision. Red is a no go, Amber for tethering only and Green for an assent. Silence hangs over the field waiting for the smoke. Its a green and we have lift off! The noise of the burners and air inflating the balloons has to be the most thrilling noise you will hear at a balloon fiesta. The smell of the burners, watching the deflated balloons come to life is magical.
The first balloon to take off was the Thatchers Cider hot air balloon. All around me balloons start to fill the air. The shaped balloons are the highlight of the weekend and this year a go fund me page was set up to bring Darth Vader back to Bristol, and he came! I had so much fun and was so thrilled to see my first ascent. Hopefully next year I will have the opportunity to take a flight at the 2020 Bristol Balloon fiesta. There is so much more to see at the fiesta than the hot air balloons. Unfortunately, at the time I was there the funfair was not open so I have no images, and to be honest I was so excited to see the balloons I forget to see what else was happening! There are food stalls, clothing stalls, lots of activities for the kids, a big wheel, craft tent, BBC Bristol and so much more.
I highly recommend visiting the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. It is a feast for the eyes, lots to do for all ages. Next year’s event takes place on August 6th-9th, 2020. Pop it in your calendar, you will not be disappointed.
NB: Please note all photos and words are my own, I was not paid to attend this event, I received a press pass on behalf of Bristol Bloggers