Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2016

I finally got my wish to go to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. I’ve wanted to go for a long time but for some reason or another didn’t make it. This week I have been watching the weather and wondering whether to go. As my partner works night shifts the only possible days to go were Saturday evening or Sunday morning. We chose the Sunday morning as the weather forecast looked the best and I guessed that the 6am start would be less busier than 6pm. 

As recommend online we booked tickets for the on site car park. It cost just under £10 for the disabled parking space. If we had bought them earlier I believe it would have been slightly cheaper. It was tempting to choose a spot away from the launch site but as it was going to be my first time I wanted to be up close, and I thought this would be better for my children too. I didn’t want to waste hours away from the site not knowing if the balloons were going to fly or not. There is also a chance if they can’t fly, they can be tethered, so you still get to see them inflated. 

I got up at 3am, prepared some snacks to take with us. I gently woke the children up. I showed a lot of enthusiasm and excitement to try and ease the shock of waking them up so early. Sometimes they can either be very upset and cry for ages, or they can have a few seconds of not being with it, then be wide awake and full of energy. (It was the latter by the way, sorry neighbours!)

We invited my mum along as the balloon fiesta is something she likes too. My mum has previously been up in a hot air balloon twice and been to see the nightglow at Bristol balloon festival. 

We picked my mum up at 4.30am and arrived at the site about 5.30am. It was fairly simple arriving at the designated gate and the roads all the way were virtually clear. I’ve heard people say how crazy the traffic can be but we were very lucky. Despite the roads being so quiet, there were actually quite a lot of people at the launch site, for that early in the morning.

I’m very fortunate now having an electric chair. It does mention on the website about how uneven the floor surface is. Without my electric chair, it just wouldn’t be possible in my manual wheelchair. (Well it could be if someone super fit was pushing you).

We placed ourselves and our fold up chairs, including the the cute little childrens ones, in the middle right up by the barriers. I wasn’t sure how good the view would be, but we decided we could move about if necessary.

No one knew whether the balloons were going to fly at first. There was barely any wind, it was dry, and the clouds were very high in the sky. We were hopeful! 

They announced over the tannoy system that over by the big Bristol sign, after their meeting they would release a certain coloured smoke to let everyone know what would happen. The smoke was green! Which ment they would fly! Wooo! They released a test balloon up first and then an air raid siren played, which ment the balloonists could start to fly. I’m unsure why they use an air raid siren. I actually found that quite erie having that blared out. I would have preferred some other kind of sound to let people know. 




Once the balloons started to go up, you didn’t know where to look! They were going up so fast! My eyes were darting about all over the place. “Oh look at that one, oh look this one is taking off, see that one over there, and that one”

What a fantastic sight to see so many hot balloons! A mass assent! I believe there were 116 in flight on Sunday morning. 

I took a few video clips too and I’ve put them together with added music in the background. View it here.

My personal favourite balloon designs were the multicolour rainbow coloured balloons, the polar bear and a balloon that had houses on it. 

My children’s favourite was of course the minion and lion king balloon. Haven’t got a good photo of the lion king head as it was facing the other way.

The site was very large. There were many funfair rides and food vans selling all sorts. A great selection! Of course it all costs extra. 

We let the children have a couple of times on the bouncy castles and inflatable slides, and a treat of a slush puppy ice drink that had over 10 different flavours that they could make themselves.

If you get a chance to go, GO! I certainly recommend it. It makes me want to go up in a hot air balloon. Maybe one day.


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