Last night I visited the Night Glow at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, the first time I’d been, even though I’ve lived in Bristol for nearly 20 years. Of course, I’d seen the balloons drifting over the rooftops at this time of year, being prompted to look up by the roaring of the burners above me.
One year on the final day, we took a picnic on to the green space of the Downs which overlooks the Avon Gorge and the Ashton Court park where the Fiesta is held. It’s a great vantage point for seeing the balloons drift up into the sky, framed by the gorge and the Clifton Suspension bridge. The wind blew the wind in our directions and many landed on the grass where we were sitting, including a huge Scottish bagpiper, scattering the onlookers.
The balloon glow is held on the Thursday and Saturday of the Fiesta after dark and the tethered balloons are arranged in an oval and light their burners in time to the music. It’s a bit like a ring of giant light bulbs flickering on and off in rhythm with Abba and Tom Jones. It was quite a sight and one I’d definitely go to next year, especially as the whole event is free.
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Next time I’ll be angling for a balloon ride over Bristol, when the balloons take off at 6am and 6pm, although not sure if I could get up for the early flight. Just so long as we don’t land on the traffic island, like I saw a balloon do that year when they all landed in the middle of our picnic.