Launch of Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Dozens of hot air balloons filled the skies above Bristol on Wednesday for the city’s annual fiesta.

The largest annual hot air balloon event in Europe normally attracts more than 500,000 visitors, but organisers decided to cancel the usual on-the-ground activities at the Ashton Court estate for the second year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead, a Fiesta Fortnight supported by Costa Coffee and featuring hundreds of balloons lifting off from different locations, will take place until August 15.

On Wednesday, the first mass ascent took place from Elm Park in Filton.

A total of 30 balloons set off from the park, which was suggested by local residents, from 6.30am.

Chris Allcock, chair of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, said: “It’s a big joy to have the balloons here. Last year we could do very, very little but we’ve got a plan for this year and we’re going to have balloons all over Bristol for the Fiesta Fortnight.”

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