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Fun and Excitement at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Aug 21, 2008
Bristol is considered to be the world's centre for ballooning. Because of its reputation for producing some of the world's largest and most durable balloons, it is not a surprise that it also hosts Europe's largest hot air balloon festival. As many as 100 balloons can fly at the same time. This four-day festival in Ashton Court, a large estate where many activities are held, gathers about half a million audiences. This free-of-charge event is scheduled at 6 in the morning and at 6 in the evening.

History

In 1978, Don Cameron, owner of Cameron Balloons and one of the world's largest balloon manufacturers decided to start a festival that would bring together balloonists and hot air balloon enthusiasts from around the world. The first-ever Bristol International Balloon Fiesta was launched on September 7, 1979 in Ashton Court. A small gathering of balloon lovers were on the ground to witness the event.

There were 27 balloons that left the ground on that day and 117 total during the whole weekend with participants coming from Luxembourg, Ireland, West Germany as well as England. The first Balloon Fiesta was also launched for advertising purposes with firms and companies allowed to place their names and banners on the balloons. They were even encouraged to fly their own balloons.

Events

There are balloon launches that occur during the whole festival. The most anticipated of them is the Special Shapes launch that features shapes according to the year's theme. Last year, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta included shapes such as a tortoise, a flying cathedral and a kiwi bird from New Zealand.

There are also shapes of animals to be featured in this year's Fiesta with an elephant, a grinning cat and a cute puppy dog. The idea of special shape balloons started in 1976 when Cameron Balloons produced the first-ever hot-air balloon sculptures. They have since t produced to showcase the ability of the balloon-maker to create complex designs and beautiful reproductions of things and animals.

During the evening, a Night Glow display is presented by the Discovery Channel and Expedia who are some of the events sponsors. People will flock to the area to witness the magnificent sight of dozens of hot-air balloons create impressive effects from the three main commands of burn, flicker and flash to the accompaniment of music.

Special Shows

2008 is the Balloon Fiesta's thirtieth anniversary and this year, the festival is preparing to give its best shows in the skies yet. Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force's fleet of acrobatic planes will thrill audiences with their high-speed skills and spectacular drops.

Paramania will also be performing in this year's festival with their awesome display of aerial acrobatics. On land, the stunt carriage team will also perform their death defying stunts and the Flying Gunners with jumps from amazingly high distances that will be sure to draw gasps from the audience.

This year's balloon festival has chosen the Marie Curie Cancer Care as the official charity. The chosen charity will organize several activities for the audience such as the Sky of Hope and the Ladies' Driving Challenge. All these exciting activities are open to the public for a small donation to the Marie Curie Cancer Care.
About the Author
For accommodation in Bristol please visit: Bristol Hotels | Hotel in Bristol | HotelsBristol.org.uk
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