Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
St. Johns Street
Bristol, United Kingdom
Year began: 1979
A world centre for ballooning, Bristol has become home to Europe's largest hot air balloon festival, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.
It all began back in 1978 when Don Cameron, owner of the world's largest balloon manufacturer, Cameron Balloons, decided to create an event that would draw together balloonists from around the world.
On the weekend of the 7th-9th September 1979, a small gathering of like-minded balloonists came together to celebrate what was to become the first ever Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Organised by the British Junior Chamber of Commerce and Shipping, the Fiesta was held at the popular ballooning location, Ashton Court.
Spectators witnessed a mass ascent of all 27 balloons attending the Fiesta and marvelled at the many other flights made throughout the weekend. Most balloons came from the West Country, while others came from Ireland, Luxembourg and West Germany.
The Fiesta was financed by sponsorship through local firms and businesses, as well as some national companies. During the Fiesta, sponsors were allocated a balloon used for displaying their advertising banner. Employees of the sponsors were then encouraged to participate with the crewing of the balloon which involved retrieving the balloon as well as going on a flight.
With a total of 117 flights made from Ashton Court, the first Bristol International Balloon Fiesta proved to be a roaring success, paving the way for future fiestas.
From this small beginning, the Fiesta has grown year after year, flourishing into what has become Europe's largest hot air balloon festival. This year the Fiesta promises to be the best yet, with over 100 balloons attending and expected crowds of over 500,000 people.
Ashton court is situated to the West of Bristol city centre just outside the urban area. It is easily reached from the M5 with direct access from the A369 Portishead road.
Access by road From the M5 take junction 18. To get onto the A4 follow signs to Bristol Airport. Cross the river A370 then the B3128. The Exhibitors entrance is on your right opposite the Long Ashton turning. The Balloonist entrance is the next right.
From Junction 19 take the A369 towards Bristol city centre. Public Red car park, Gate 9 entrances are on the right.. Exhibitors and balloonists take the B3128 and continue as above. From the M32 follow signs to city centre and then Weston-Super-Mare or Portishead.
Web Site: http://www.bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk/
+44 (0) 117 953 5884