Date: 9th August 2018
Its was our 5th Wedding Anniversary and we decided to celebrate by going to the International Balloon Festival. The weather was nice… so nice that we burn! We think this will now become an annual event if we available as it was so much fun and we could easily see a group of us going next year and maybe camp…probably with beer!
Where: The Balloon Festival is held in Ashton Court Estate in Bristol over 4 days (long weekend). Make sure you look carefully at each days events as some do not have the early take off. We learned our lesson here as we did not see the balloons fly in the early morning. The best thing about this festival is that it’s free to attend and you just have to pay a small fee to park. Inside of the estate there are so many stalls for drinks, foods, fair rides and stores.
What to Bring: Again we were not sure what was allowed into the balloon festival and therefore went with the side of caution. Next time we will know that (pretty much) anything goes! We took in a few blankets to sit on and a picnic lunch. When you looked around some people had brought tents, camp chairs and cases of beers. You are sat around for a long time so camp chairs are a must for next time.
What to Expect: Well of course you can expect balloons. You can buy a guide which will show you all the balloons at the festival. Remember to bring a pen so you can mark off the balloons on the brochure. So the first thing we saw were the tethering of the shape balloons. The Rupert Bear balloon had come out of retirement and they had to be so careful as it was so old. These were amazing! The balloons were massive and the shapes were awesome, here are some of the ones we saw.
The next part of the day was the mass balloon lift off. We were really looking forward to this. They had a unique way of letting you know what would happen due to the weather. So they oddly used the same technique as electing a pope! If the smoke was red, the balloons would not be able to fly or tether. Yellow smoke meant no flying but tethering. Green smoke was the go ahead to fly. We had our fingers crossed however we were a little unlucky and the smoke… was yellow. We did get to see a range of balloons getting tethered and it was interesting to see them pack the balloons back in their boxes.
The highlight for us was the nightglow and firework finale. The nightglow is just amazing and lasted ages. This is where the balloons are lit up with lights, the lights move to the music being played. The music was a great mix and we had everything from pop to The Greatest Showman. That was then followed by the fireworks which were really good.
TOP TIP: Getting out of the car park was an absolute nightmare. We payed for premium car parking and it did take us around 2 hours to get out of the car park.
Important Question: Yes totally worth it! We will be back next year and maybe stay the whole weekend.