Sky high finish to the 2017 International Balloon Fiesta

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The big Bristol event ended last night with one final spectacular display

The 39th annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in partnership with Bristol Energy came to a close last night with a stunning mass ascent from Ashton Court Estate near Bristol.

Over the four days of the free event, Thursday 10th – Sunday 13th August, four successful mass ascents took place as well as two magical night glows on Thursday and Saturday. 234 balloon flights took to the skies putting on a great show for the thousands of Fiesta visitors in Ashton Court Estate, Bristol and the surrounding areas. 

The first mass ascent took place on a beautiful Friday morning, with the balloons taking off to a cheering crowd. On Saturday morning despite windy conditions a few experienced pilots took to the skies determined to give a display to the large crowd gathered at Ashton Court. The weekend ended on a high with both the morning and evening ascents taking place on Sunday to a packed audience.

Late night visitors on Thursday and Saturday witnessed the spectacle of the famous night glows, as over 25 teams lit up their balloons in time to music when night fell ahead of a spectacular fireworks display.

Highlights over the event included the Royal Navy balloon stunning audiences by attaching a paraglider to the basket and letting him loose at 3,000. A parachutist also jumped out of the balloon basket and sailed through the skies before landing safely back in the arena. There were also aerial displays by Rich Goodwin in the Pitts Special biplane, the Breitling Wing Walkers and performances by the Parabatix Flying Display team, jumps into the arena by the Exit Parachute team and visits and demonstrations by the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, the Fiesta’s official charity partner.

New shapes and special balloons delighted the crowd over the weekend as Sunday saw an appearance from a brand new special shaped balloon named Busby, a member of the Queen’s guard. Balloon Lindy made its first flight outside of the US, and pilots travelled from all round the world to be at the Fiesta from as far away as Hong Kong. New balloons to the Fiesta also included the Thatcher’s balloon, the special shaped Belvoir drop and the Teenage Cancer Trust’s Spirit of Jess balloon, in memory of Jess Thomas who passed away from cancer last year. 

Entertainment for all the family, throughout the day, included fairground rides, Happy’s Circus, our new big wheel, delicious food stalls and bars, balloon tethering, model aircraft displays, experiential activities and a local music stage, showcasing the best local bands and solo performers.

Sue Atkinson, chair of the Fiesta Organising Committee, commented:

“Big thanks to the people of Bristol for turning out to support our balloonists and the event this weekend. We had four successful ascents with some incredible weather during the early morning ascents, allowing 234 balloon flights to take off. It was a real family affair this year with a packed schedule of arena entertainment, kids’ activities and two music stages. 

“We now can’t wait to start planning for our 40th anniversary next year but before we do, we want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all those involved, our partners, sponsors, exhibitors and of course the stars of the show, the balloon teams.”

To see updates from this year’s event follow @BristolBalloon on Instagram and Twitter, or https://www.facebook.com/bristolinternationalballoonfiesta

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