To the sound of The Imperial March, one of the most eagerly anticipated hot air balloons to appear at Bristol Balloon Fiesta for many years finally took to the skies over its home city.
Darth Vader may be based in Belgium these days, but he was made in Bedminster by Cameron Balloons.
Due to a forecast of inclement weather ahead, a mass ascent took place on Thursday morning for the first time and the Sith Lord was one of 57 to launch.
After taking off from the Fiesta site at Ashton Court, the balloon flew eastwards over the city – finally landing on Barton Fields in Speedwell, close to Bristol Brunel Academy.
The Darth Vader balloon has arrived in Bristol following a crowdfunding campaign which has so far raised more than £5,000.
Chris Allcock, chair of the 2019 Balloon Fiesta organising committee, said: “As a not-for-profit event we rely on the support of local business, organisations and visitors to raise the much-needed funds to stage this event every year.
“Therefore we will continue to keep the crowdfund campaign running and offer incredible rewards in return for pledges to encourage further support.”
Photo and flight video by Beth Owen