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Outdoors and Attractions Features

Balloon Fiesta

1st Bowood Balloon Festival

The world's largest flying house and a giant heart with arms will take to the air over Bowood this May...

As the sun gets ready to go down over Bowood House, at the end of May, a mass of brilliantly coloured hot air balloons will be getting ready to go up into the Wiltshire sky for the first ever Bowood Balloon Festival...

Balloon Fiesta

Wiltshire hasn't hosted a balloon festival since 2001 when the very last annual Balloon fiesta at Longleat was forced to relocate due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak.

Six years on and the propane burners are again being fired up in the county but this time it's on the lawns in front of Bowood House and lake for the first ever Bowood Balloon Festival:

"It is a very beautiful venue," says Christine one of the event organisers, "one which I have been trying to secure for over 10 years, but this year we have been successful."

World's largest flying house

Over 20 different hot air balloons have already signed up, for the three-day long balloon fiesta, among them is the world's largest flying house sponsored by the Stroud and Swindon Building Society.  Standing over 20 metres high, and weighing in at 320 kgs, it's twice the size of a conventional home and one of the biggest special shaped balloons in the country.

Balloon Fiesta
Stroud and Swindon Balloon

Also, jostling for airspace over Bowood House, will be the giant heart shaped Ikea balloon with waving hands which is based on the Swedish retailer's famous cushion.  Plus joining it to the air will be the Sloggi Pants very 'hot' hot air balloon.

Launching literally weather permitting on Saturday May 26th with a mass balloon launch, the first evening of the fiesta will also include a choreographed hot air balloon nightglow (when the tethered balloons will be illuminated by their burners in time to the music) followed by a fireworks finale. Whilst, at ground level there'll be a display by the Over the Top Motor Cycle Stunt Team. 

On Sunday 27th May and Bank Holiday Monday, meanwhile, it's an earlier 12:30 pm start with a line-up including a Chariots of Fire Display, a second chance to see the Motor Cycle Stunt Team a balloon tethering and demonstration all rounded off, at 6pm weather permitting, with a second mass balloon launch.

"The launch site is a lovely setting," says Christine, "and we plan to have plenty of fun over the weekend."

When and where

Balloon Fiesta
The Ikea Balloon

The 1st Bowood Balloon Festival runs from Saturday 26th May through to Monday 28th May 2007 at Bowood House near Chippenham.

On Saturday 26th May, 2007, the Nightfire Programme includes: Mass balloon launch (weather permitting) at 6pm; Over the Top Motor Cycle stunt Team; Choreographed Hot Air; Balloon Nightglow and Fireworks Finale. Gates open: 4.30pm.  Admission: £20 per car (max 5 people).

On Sunday 27th & Bank Holiday Monday 28th, 2007, the Family Fun Afternoons include: Over the Top Motorcycle Team Display ; Chariots Fire Display Team; Balloon Tethering & Demo and Mass balloon launch at 6pm (weather permitting).  Gates open: 12.30 pm and entertainment starts at 1:00 pm.  Admission (Sunday & Monday): Adult £6 (£5 in advance), OAP £5.50 (£4.50 in advance), Child Price £4 (£3 in advance).

For more information click on the link in the right hand coloumn.

last updated: 29/05/07
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