Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Have you ever got up early on a warm summer morning, looked out over a field, and spotted a hot air balloon drifting lazily over the trees? That iconic summer image is something I remember well from many summers gone by. I love the whole idea of how peaceful and tranquil a balloon is as it meanders across the countryside at the whim of the wind.

Monster Munch

I was in Bristol one summer on business a few years back, and was lucky enough to be there on the weekend of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. I woke up early on Saturday morning, looked out the window of my hotel and was greeted by the sight of what looked like hundreds of hot air balloons in the air all at the same time. It was quite amazing to see that many balloons in the air at the same time. I stuck around for the weekend and even managed to meet up with a few of the balloon teams and their pilots.

For 2013, the Fiesta will be held from the 8th to the 11th of August, and it is now the largest hot air balloon festival in Europe. Throughout the four days of the festival, you can enjoy music, dancing, great food, and even win a few prizes or buy some of the hand crafted trinkets and souvenirs.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

One of the great events you can look forward too if you make to the festival this year is something they call a Nightglow. On the evening of the 8th, and again on the 10th, around 30 balloons are assembled and tied down in the launch area. The owners then light up the balloon canopies with the propane burners, lighting the whole field making it look like it is filled with Christmas decorations. This was the climax of the whole weekend for me, and I’m sure that you will agree that this plus the evening fireworks is nothing short of spectacular.


©Karen Roe/

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