The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta was founded in 1979 when a small gathering of like-minded balloonists came together to fly in their balloons at the popular ballooning location, Ashton Court near Bristol in Somerset.

There was a mass ascent of 27 balloons. Most of the balloons came from the West Country, while others came from Ireland, Luxembourg, and West Germany.

From this small beginning, the Fiesta has grown to be a four-day event. It takes place Thursday-Sunday over the second full weekend of August every year.

This year there will be over 140 hot air balloons and 500,000 spectators. It’s Europe’s largest hot air balloon festival.

The Fiesta has become as much of an icon for Bristol as Brunel, the Concord, and Wallace and Gromit. It is open to the public free of charge.

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