Bristol

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta hailed a success

The organisers of this year's Bristol International Balloon Fiesta said the event had been a success, despite sometimes poor weather.

An estimated 500,000 people attended the festival at Ashton Court over four days, with over 100,000 present at Saturday's night glow.

It came to an end on Sunday evening, with the launch of 56 balloons in the second mass ascent of the fiesta.

Organisers thanked the "loyal crowds" and the event's sponsors.

Eighty one balloons took off on Friday morning, but flights on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening were cancelled.

Low cloud and winds also put a stop to Sunday morning's planned mass ascent, but the weather improved, allowing the evening launch to go ahead.

The venue was filled to capacity as more than 120,000 gathered. Hundreds had to be turned away.

'Patience rewarded'

Entertainment included the Black Cats, the Royal Navy's helicopter display team, and the Red Arrows, who were greeted with huge cheers on Sunday afternoon.

Muir Moffat, chairman of the organising committee, said: "Despite the poor weather earlier in the weekend, we're delighted their patience was rewarded with a wonderful mass launch to end the fiesta on a real high.

"As soon as the skies cleared, the banks around the arena became packed with high spirited audiences waiting for the night glow on Saturday and we had a capacity crowd for the balloon launch on Sunday.

"It's clear that people are still consumed by the magic of this event."

The event, which is in its 32nd year, celebrated 50 years of modern ballooning.

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