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Four balloon festivals to watch out for in 2014

There are a large number of balloon festivals that take place across the world over the course of the year. Whether you are a balloon enthusiast or someone who loves being part of the festival scene, there is something for everyone. Below are a number of UK and Scotland events scheduled for 2014. The British Balloon Museum and Library Inflation Day – 26th April The Inflation Day event is held biannually at Lakeside Lodge in Pidley, Cambridgeshire. The BBM&L was formed in 1979 by a group of balloon enthusiasts keen to retain the many items used within ballooning. Now, it is run by volunteers – but not all of them are balloonists. Plans for Inflation Day include two themes this year – “A Tribute to Western Balloons” and “Artwork Doubles”. Bristol International Balloon Fiesta – 7th-10th August Now in its 36th year, this is Europe’s largest ballooning event, comprising four days of free fun and entertainment held at the Ashton Court Estate. Over 150 hot air balloons will take to the skies, and the ground will be greeted by over half a million visitors who come to watch the balloons of all shapes, sizes and colours fly over the City of Bristol. Additional entertainment – including fairground rides, food stalls, arena entertainment and the world famous Red Arrows – will be on site for the duration of the festival. “Breakfast and Balloons” begins at 6am each day, where you can enjoy the amazing view with a coffee in hand as the balloons begin their ascent. The evening Nightglows are phenomenal, as 30 ballooning teams participate to a background of music and fireworks. Northampton Balloon Festival Friday – 15th-17th August This three-day event spectacular is the 25th one held, and is hoped by many to create a spectacular sight over the Northamptonshire skies. With ballooning being so dependent on the weather, and with the balloonists wanting to take to the skies, they will be flying at both 6am and 6pm each day, if conditions permit. Both pilots and crews will be holding question and answer sessions between 2-4 pm each day On the Saturday (16th) evening at 9pm, there will be a spectacular “balloon glow”. The balloons are tethered to the ground and are lit up in time with the pulse of the music Strathaven Balloon Festival – 22nd-24th August This incredible annual event takes place at John Hastie Park courtesy of the South Lanarkshire Council. Unique within Scotland – and one of the UK’s largest – it combines many sights found across the balloon festival spectrum. Sights will include gatherings of hot air balloons in ascent and full-flight (weather permitting) and the stunning Saturday Evening Glow, which means there is something for everybody to enjoy with no entry charges. Organised by local volunteers in their spare time, work starts on the next year’s event as soon as the current year’s festival ends. With the support of local business and the hard work put into raising the thousands of pounds needed, this amazing balloon spectacular has been running since 1999.

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