West Country prepares for Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Preparations are well under way for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, to take place this August at Ashton Court, the stately home which has traditionally hosted the event. Some 137 hot air balloons are expected to take to the skies this year, with representation expected from all over the world, including Belgium, Thailand and Malaysia.

Considerable interest has already been generated by one planned spectacle, the maiden flight of the “world’s first solar-powered hot air balloon”. Constructed by local firm Cameron Balloons, the craft is a hybrid vehicle, powered partly by the sun’s rays, and partly by a traditional propane burner. The project will rely on fabric panels which have been chosen for their ability to absorb sunlight. These panels will be sewn together to form the balloon envelope. Manufacturing will be completed in late July, after which testing will begin.

This year’s Balloon Fiesta has now had its formal launch, at which West Country brewer, St Austell Brewery, was declared the main sponsor, whilst Euro Recycling will be sponsoring the Thursday night “Glow” event, when balloons ascend and glow in the dark to the sound of accompanying music – a traditional highlight.

Jane Oakland, the Fiesta spokeswoman adds:

“The programme for this year’s event is shaping up incredibly well and we’re delighted that once again, balloon teams from across the UK, Europe and beyond have signed up to put on a great show for visitors to the event.”

The event draws around half a million visitors each year, and it looks like there will be plenty to look forward to for this year’s crowds.

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