Bristol International Balloon Fiesta to celebrate the city’s icons

The organisers of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta will this year have the theme of celebrating Bristol’s icons.

First, to celebrate 50 years of ground-breaking advances in the aerospace sector, Bristol-based Airbus UK will be sponsoring Thursday’s night glow event. The event will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Concorde, which was one of only two supersonic passenger airlines to operate commercially. The other was the Soviet-built Tupolev Tu-144, but this only operated commercially for less than a year. Former Concorde pilot Tim Orchard will be bringing his hopper balloon, which is made from the seats of the airliner that he used to fly.

Bristol-based Aardman Animations will also be present at the event with a workshop where visitors will be able make models of Aardman’s classic characters, such as Wallace and Grommit, who will feature extensively in the music for the night glow events to celebrate the duo’s 30th anniversary. Attendees will even have a chance to win the opportunity to accompany Morph on a hot air balloon ride.

The organisers are also trying to raise money to bring the Darth Vader balloon, which was made in Bristol, to the event. The Darth Vader character was also acted on screen by Bristol’s David Prowse.

The event, which is the largest hot air balloon festival in Europe, will take place between August 8 and August 11 at Ashton Court. This year’s festival will be the 41st occurrence and will likely attract in excess of half a million people.

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