40 Special Shapes for 40 years of Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

40 Special Shapes for 40 years of Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Posted on: 04 Jul 2018

Today marks 40 days until the 40th year anniversary of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta and it is to celebrate with 40 special shape displays!

40 special shapes for 40yr anniversary of Bristol Balloon Fiesta

From Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th August, the skies over Bristol and Ashton Court will once again be filled with hundreds of balloons. But to celebrate this momentous occasion, the Fiesta will feature 40 of the most cherished and iconic special shapes from throughout the ages for a special tethering on each day of the Fiesta.


Modern favourites Simbaloo the Longleat Lion and the Belvoir Balloon will join Fiesta classics such as Peanut Man, the Michelin Man, Owlbert Einstein and the truly spectacular Superbike.

40 special shapes for 40yr anniversary of Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Fiesta fans will also get the chance to see the Bertie Bassett balloons once again, the last time this liquorice legged icon featured at the Fiesta was 2003 and his return the launch field will surely be a special sight indeed.


Attendees will also get to witness the fantastically enormous Birthday Cake Balloon, which has never been seen at the Fiesta before.


Over the years special shapes have played a huge part of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, a free weekend of family-friendly fun, and the sight of these wonderfully designed balloons have captured the hearts and minds of balloon lovers throughout Bristol since they were first introduced in 1997.

40 special shapes for 40yr anniversary of Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Don Cameron, founder and chairman of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, said: “The 40th anniversary is a huge milestone so it’s only right that we bring something truly special to celebrate this... and there’s nothing the crowd loves more than special shapes. We have some of the most iconic shapes we’ve seen at the Fiesta over the years, the likes of Bertie Bassett, The Michelin Man and the Superbike have long been a favourite of the crowds and it will be wonderful to see them in the arena once again."


In 1979 Cameron came up with the novel idea of staging a small hot air balloon fiesta in Bristol. Staged by the Bristol Junior Chamber of Commerce & Shipping, just 27 air balloons took part in the spectacular free show for the general public.


Now in its 40th year the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is firmly established as Europe’s largest annual hot air balloon festival and one of the UK’s top 5 outdoor events. The iconic images of Bristol and balloons have become synonymous with the city and are seen around the world.

40 special shapes for 40yr anniversary of Bristol Balloon Fiesta

The Fiesta also gives a huge economic boost to the city, for every pound spent at the Fiesta further £20 is spent in the local economy, equating to a whopping £15m net economic benefit to the city.


As ever, the Fiesta will open on Thursday at midday with hot air balloons tethering throughout the afternoon followed by the regular special shapes flight at 6pm.


On Thursday and Saturday late night visitors to the festival can witness the famous Night Glows as the hot air balloons appear as giant light bulbs, a stunning sight of 30 balloons with burners roaring bright in time to the music as night falls.


However the true magic of the Fiesta can be witnessed at the crack of dawn for the morning mass ascents. From 6am on Friday Saturday and Sunday the grounds of Ashton Court come alive with the sounds of burners and the sights of hundreds of balloons taking to the skies.


For people planning on driving to the event, car parking must be booked in advance and runs on a tiered system, so the earlier it’s booked the cheaper the price and the closer the space is to the main showground. Premium, main and disabled car parking slots can still be bought here.

Article by:

Hannah Moll

Hannah recently graduated with a degree in English with Writing. She is an avid writer, freelancer and creative. She is currently writing her first full-length novel and a collection of poetry. Always out and about in Bristol's music scene, she attends music events on a weekly basis.