As a Bristolian the Balloon Fiesta has been a part of the local summer scene for many years. Over the years various close family members and friends were the envy of their peers when they were lucky enough to land a summer job working there. In my student days I even camped in a nearby field with a group of friends to make a weekend of it!
Now a generation on I am taking my own children. Last year I took TrainBoy and Bubble (then 7 and 5) along with their 6 year old cousin who was visiting from out of town. 2 year old Zu had fallen asleep so I naively thought he would be best left with his grandparents and the event would pass him by without note.
‘Mummy, when are we going to see the hot air balloons?’ he asked when he awoke the following morning. Guiltily I fobbed him off with an excuse and thought he would soon forget about it. Over the course of the last year more days than not he has asked the same question. Bad Mummy. Recently the tone has been a little less patient
‘Mummy, when ARE we going to see the hot air balloons?’
I was very pleased to be able to confirm this week that his wish will finally be realised.
But life is rarely that straightforward, is it?
‘Yay, so I can go for a ride in a hot air balloon! TrainBoy! Bubble! we’re going up in a hot air balloon!!’
ME ‘Well probably not actually a ride. We will just get to see them. There are some really cool shapes!”
ZU ‘But Peppa Pig went up in one so why can’t we?’
Darn you Peppa Pig. oh never mind. He’s only three. I’m sure he’ll soon forget about the ride. Yeah right.
This year we plan to make a day of it and let the boys make the most of the events planned for children.
Young festival goers can enjoy a dedicated Kids Zone which will have activities run by Children’s Scrapstore and Cardboard Cameras, encouraging children to make their own miniature hot air balloons.
There will also be a menagerie of animals, including reindeer, rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks, an African Spotted Eagle Owl and a Boa Constrictor, courtesy of Noah’s Ark Zoo.
The famous Transformer Optimus Prime will also be stopping by to give visitors the opportunity to have their photograph taken with Optimus and the autobots, play with the latest Transformers toys and the chance to win prizes.
FIESTA INFO & PARKING
The Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2012 is a world-class hot air ballooning festival and one of the UK’s top five outdoor events. Held in the rolling hills of Ashton Court on the edge of Bristol, it is a hugely popular free event attracting around half a million people from across the country and beyond over the four days, making it one of the largest outdoor events in the country.
You do have to pay for parking which costs £10 on the day or £6 if you are organised enough to reserve it on-line in advance.
This year the event has been shortlisted as a winner in the Best Tourism Event category in the VisitEngland Excellence Awards 2012. Founded in 1979, and now in its 34th year, it has become an icon for Bristol.
Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2012 Mass ascents will take place as follows:
Thursday 9th August – 6.00pm: Special Shapes Launch
Friday 10th – 6.00am and 6.00pm: Mass ascent
Saturday 11th – 6.00am and 6.00pm: Mass ascent
Sunday 12th – 6.00am and 6.00pm: Mass ascent