October 15, 2015

Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015

It's been a few weeks since the last blog post, due mainly to a wonderful trip to Canada.  Before I start to process the 700 photos from there it's time to share these with you, just ten photos from the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.

In 2015 the Bristol Balloon Fiesta celebrated its 37th year, and although I used to live close by this was my first visit.  The hot air balloons do an early morning and late afternoon ascent on each day, and wanting to guarantee good photos I opted to check the weather and head there for the afternoon and evening.

The weather was perfect for taking photos, but it drew in people in their masses.  The Fiesta is a free event, and it got so busy that Bristol city centre became gridlocked and the organisers had to turn people away.  I'd heard an estimate for 250,000 visitors, and it's by far the most people I've ever seen in one place.  It explains why it took me nearly three hours to get out of the car park after the event - I hope for better traffic management in 2016!

The majority of the balloons were a normal shape, amongst them balloons from Cameron Balloons, Bailey BalloonsBristol Balloons, Virgin, the Royal Navy, and Loughborough University.  The stars of the show were the penguin shaped balloons from Fly Penguin.

The afternoon ascent and gentle wind gave balloons the chance to take off and drift towards the city and Clifton Suspension Bridge.  After sunset the night glow started - tethered balloons firing their burners to light up the sky.  And to finish some fireworks.

I'd have liked to have gone up in a balloon to get some photos from the sky looking down but didn't get the chance.  When I was a child my father worked with someone who was on the team that flew Richard Branson and Per Linstrand on the first transatlantic hot air balloon flight in 1987.  I had the chance to go in a hot air balloon with them, and at the last moment got scared and decided against it.  A decision I rue to this day.  I will fly in a hot air balloon one day!

A sunny Saturday brought the crowds out.  I've never seen so many people in one place.
Everyone was taking photos, and who can blame them.
The world famous Cameron Balloons are based in Bristol.
The crowds watch as the balloons inflate and lift off.
The penguin balloons were very popular.
The wind carried the balloons towards the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.
This photo gives an idea of the number of balloons... I count 35!
As the sun set the night glow started.
Quite a few balloons joined in the light the evening skies.
The evening ended with fireworks.

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