Features: Your complete guide to Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2017
The Bristol balloon fiesta is here, taking place from Thursday August 10 to Sunday August 13. As the second biggest annual hot air balloon meeting in the world and the biggest annual meet in Europe, the fiesta hosts over 150 hot air balloons, and plenty more entertainment throughout the weekend.
Morning balloon ascents
The morning ascents start at 6am on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. An early start, but the keen fiesta goers know that these are among the most spectacular ascents of the event. Bring breakfast with you, or you enjoy something from the many great food stalls in the Ashton Court grounds.
Afternoon balloon ascents
The afternoon ascents are the busiest, and the launch field will be buzzing as thousands of people from all across the UK come to see the balloons rise. We recommend getting there early, as the car park shuts at 5pm, and the mass ascents starting at 6pm every day of the festival.
Nightglows and fireworks
At 9pm on Thursday and Saturday the balloons will tether up and flare their torches to a soundtrack designed for the event, bringing the night sky to life in a dazzling way. The nightglow is finished with a brilliant firework display: for the best view, head towards the sides of the arena.
If that wasn’t enough, there will also be heaps of ground-based entertainment going on at Ashton Court, including Happy’s Circus who will be providing traditional circus entertainment with a modern twist. The famous high-flying Breitling Wingwalkers will be dazzling the crowds, and the arena bandstand will showcase local artists all weekend long, with great food and drink to accompany the tunes.
Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers should bear in mind that the Clifton Suspension Bridge will be closed from 6pm until midnight on Thursday August 10 and again from 6pm until midnight on Saturday August 12.
Driving to the event is possible, but long delays have occurred in previous years, and you’ll pay a premium for on-site parking. There will be secure cycle storage at Ashton Court for those arriving on two wheels, and a regular shuttle bus will be in operation throughout the weekend, leaving from Temple Meads station and the city centre.