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Balloon Fiesta in the Late 80's.
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The Bristol Balloon Fiesta is held every year during the second weekend of August (Thursday morning until the Sunday night). Ashton Court Estate is a prime location for this kind of event - lots of flat, grassy lands to take off from. The balloons take off twice a day - at 6am and 6pm - depending on the weather. Not too many people get up in the wee hours to watch them drift silently across the city, but nearly everyone steps out in the summery evening to watch the great hot air balloons pass over. Kids wave, adults take pictures, and the local news crew shoots live from the basket of their station-branded balloon. There's also an evening event where tethered balloons are lit up in sequence with pop music.
Not having batteries in my digital camera (and it being lousy anyway), I took three pictures out from a photo album and scanned them into my laptop at a super-high-resolution. These pictures are from the late 1980's (I'm guessing 1986) when I was young enough to be taken there in a pushchair. So it's been a city tradition for a long long time to come down to Ashton Court and watch the balloons.
Keeping the crowds entertained during the day are novelty acts like dog trials, motorbike daredevils, bi-planes, semi-famous pop music acts and hundreds of businesses promoting their products (from lager to butter to universities to the army to employment). There is usually a funfair, with carnival acts and ferris wheels and other lightbulb-laden rides. The local radio station plays music from an oversized stage, runs competitions and hands out prizes. Overall, it's a family event, and pretty much everyone has a good time (especially if the weather is nice).
Check out those retro-balloons! These days, nearly 20 years on, the balloons are a lot more sophisticated, coming in all shapes and sizes; advertising everything from home insurance to broadband internet. It's very rare that you'll find a plain patterned average-shaped balloon taking off from Ashton Court in this decade.
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jeeff: 17th May 2005 - 23:34 GMT
very cool. we had a balloon fest in my hometown every summer. looked much the same as this. good idea to use old photos. i'd love to see more old photos on this site. i'll try and find some of my own.
olly: 15th Jun 2005 - 15:10 GMT
Natali, I am trying to date some Bristol Balloon Fiesta photos that I have and by coincidence have a few good photographs of the blue balloon in your second photo. It says "National Garden Festival Stoke on Trent Staffs 1986" So I guess your date was correct.
SweetStuff: 26th May 2006 - 19:17 GMT
For my project on hot air balloons i came here to look for some very old pics of them. I found some but not a lot! if you think this site is one of the best it aint well it sord is but still i think if you want this site to be the greatest put new pics and old pics of hot air balloons.
Peter: 26th May 2006 - 19:19 GMT
lol. this isnt a site about hot air balloons... you know? this entry is merely part of a much larger whole...
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