Run up to Newbury ballooning event launched

The Berkshire town of Newbury is gearing up to its inaugural hot air balloon festival.

To announce the event’s launch, two balloons took off from Newbury’s Victoria Park. On the flight was Russell Downing, managing director of the Newbury Business Improvement District, and Daren Bowyer, chief executive of the Newbury Showground, which will host the occasion.

The inaugural Newbury Balloon Festival is the brainchild of Richard Garvie, who also organises the nearby Thatcham firework event. He came up with the idea two years ago when balloon owners approached him about becoming involved with the pyrotechnics night.

The festival will take place from 17th to 19th July, with around 20 hot air balloons already confirmed. More are expected, and according to the event’s Facebook page, the owners of the first 30 balloons to sign up will receive a free tablet with sensitive area mapping already installed.

In addition to the usual launches and night-glow shows, there will also be live music and a funfair. Trades stands and shopping tents will also be present, so it looks set to be a fun day for people of all ages. People will also have the chance to take a hot air balloon ride themselves.

Entry to the Newbury Balloon Festival will be free of charge. Some attendees may have to pay for parking, but organisers say this will be capped at £10 if people book in advance. A bus service will also be available. Any profits generated by the event will be divided among three local charities: The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, Mary Hare School, and Priors Court School.

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