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Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2019: Darth Vader balloon leads mass ascent

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image captionA balloon shaped like Darth Vader appeared above Clifton Suspension Bridge

A mass ascent of hot air balloons has taken to the skies over Bristol as the city's annual Balloon Fiesta gets under way.

Featuring a range of different shaped balloons, the ascent included one of Star Wars villain Darth Vader.

Dozens of balloons headed over the city towards the Clifton Suspension Bridge, after the ascent began at 06:30 BST.

Organisers brought the ascent forward by 24 hours, due to predicted strong winds on Friday and Saturday.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe Darth Vader balloon was one of the highlights of Thursday's ascent

The nightglows planned for Thursday and Saturday evenings are still scheduled to take place, a spokesman said.

Thousands of visitors are due to attend the 41st Bristol International Balloon Fiesta over the weekend.

It is one of Europe's largest ballooning events, and more than 130 colourful hot air balloons from across the world are due to attend.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionThousands of visitors are due to attend the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
image captionThe mass ascent was brought forward by 24 hours because bad weather is forecast

The Darth Vader balloon took to the skies for the first time, after it was made following a crowd funding campaign.

It was taking part in a mass ascent along with 56 other balloons from countries including Japan and Taiwan.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionBalloons took to the skies at about 06:30 BST
image captionPeople in Perrett's Park, Bristol watched the balloons take off
image copyrightPA Media
image captionDozens of balloons took to the skies
image copyrightPA Media
image captionMore than 50 balloons took part in the mass ascent

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Related Topics

  • Bristol
  • Star Wars