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Internet petition aims to bring back balloon festival

A large number of people in Southampton have taken to Facebook to petition the return of the city’s balloon event. Around 7,000 of the site’s users have already joined the online group demanding the re-launch of the festival. John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, backed up the campaign, stating:
“It was just a fantastic event. It was awash with parents and young children and Southampton had never seen anything like it before or since. It would be great if it came back.”
The original Southampton Balloon Festival ran for a number of years, with the event attracting many visitors and ballooning enthusiasts to the area. The last hot air balloon festival took place in 2003 and cost £130,000, with the council providing £70,000. Map maker Ordinance Survey contributed £20,000 towards the event, while the city’s traders and stall holders provided the additional funds. The expense of holding the festival is said to have contributed to its axing. While the cost of a hot air balloon festival can be quite extravagant, signers of the petition believe that the amount of business and advertising generated would help to make the event worth it. If the festival does return, Hoglands Park could be a suitable venue for hot air balloon tethering. Many people share their experiences of hot air balloon festivals with their friends and families on Internet platforms such as Facebook, with online interaction becoming a core part of the way the events are marketed.
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