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Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Is this an icon?


Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

In 1978, Don Cameron, founder and owner of Cameron Balloons, the world’s major balloon manufacturer (the company designed and built the Breitling Orbiter 3, the first balloon to be flown non-stop around the globe) decided to create a global ballooning event. The idea wasn’t all hot air, and the following year, the first Bristol International Balloon Fiesta took off with 27 balloonists from England, Ireland, Luxembourg and West Germany.

It is now Europe’s biggest hot air balloon festival and this year, from 10-13 August, over 130 balloons and half a million people will attend the 28th Fiesta at Ashton Court. The defining image of the Fiesta comes in the early mornings and evenings on each day of the Fiesta, when the balloons launch in unison and the skies above Bristol explode with colour. Unique and visually spectacular, the sight of more than 130 hot air balloons drifting over the city stops people in their tracks and never fails to raise a smile.

Photo: Courtesy Bristol Balloon Fiestas Ltd


Your comments

World centre for ballooning, Bristol has become home to Europe's largest hot air balloon festival, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Founded 28 years ago, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta has a fascinating history. With a total of 117 flights made from Ashton Court, the first 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. I go every year I can and there is no better way of seeing what its founder Don Cameron has achieved for Bristol and the UK in seeing over 110 hot air balloons flying over Bristol in the early mornings and evenings, causing the commuter traffic to come to a standstill. This deserves to be an icon of England at its best.

Sarah King

Iconic - imagery balloon + bridge + gorge or balloons popping up behind buildings or balloons flooding over the city at dawn.

A slow burner, so to speak.

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry