Fiesta fans turn out in force for records and romance
The Barton Willmore Bristol International Balloon Fiesta fans turned out in their hundreds of thousands to see 259 hot air balloon flights take to the skies over the weekend, with ascents from new special shapes including Stuart, the Despicable Me 2 Minion, FT Tablet and the William Hill Scottish Cup.
This year’s event featured an extended programme of aerobatic displays including an appearance from the Breitling Wingwalkers on Saturday, the world’s only synchronised biplane performance team, the RAF Typhoon jet and a stunning Red Arrows display on Friday afternoon attended by thousands arriving early for the evening’s balloon ascent. Bristol based Jelli Records programmed a fantastic varied line up of local talent on the bandstand stage to keep crowds entertained across the weekend.
A UK record breaking 74 balloons landed in a single field on Saturday morning at the old Cadbury Fry’s Factory in Keynsham. An established gesture amongst balloonists when landing here is to make a donation to the land owners and Cadbury’s PLC has requested that the £740 raised should go to charity Help For Heroes. Two airborne wedding proposals and a bridal magazine cover shoot topped off the celebratory feel on site.
Ben Hardy, organiser of the Barton Willmore Bristol International Balloon Fiesta commented;
“This year we saw really great crowd numbers reaching toward the 500,000 visitor levels across all four days thanks to our decision to spread the key entertainment elements over all the days of the fiesta. There are so many people to thank but I’d really like to thank all of the balloonists who came from all over the UK, and further afield, keeping us at the heart of their ballooning calendar. The organising committee who work so hard to keep the event free admission and the members of the 100 Club who support our work. Most importantly though, our fantastic visitors deserve a really big thank you for making all our work worthwhile.”
Chris Hathaway, Chairman of the fiesta organising committee;
“We were very lucky with the weather with 6 out of 7 slots being flown and two spectacular nightglows being topped off with a fantastic firework finale. See you all at next year’s fiesta which will take place from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th August 2014.