14 08 2011
The 33rd Bristol Balloon Fiesta, old eyes and new eyes alike
I can’t remember how many Bristol International Balloon Fiestas I have been to, but it has to have been a lot! I have been to almost every fiesta in my memory, with a few exceptions due to holidays! Naturally it seams that the Balloon Fiesta of my youth where bigger and better, however that is likely due to me having been so small (and easily impressed). To a Bristolian the fiesta may seam somewhat less special that it did in the past, but to a fiesta-virgin the event is everything it used to be to me.
This year Emma ( @martianseraph ) and I took our friend Cathy ( @cath_bendy88 ) to the fiesta with us (along with @kaivana ), Cathy aka Cat currently lives in a little town in Oxfordshire but was a student at Bristol University (where she met my fiancée Emma). Cat had never been to the Balloon Fiesta before so everything was new. Being the hyperactive person that she is she was literally bouncing up and down as we walked along festival way to get there from the Cumberland basin.
Seeing the fiesta through new eyes I can see that it is a great event, especially watching so many balloons rise into the air together. Even the simple traditional balloons can look majestic as they rise into the air, to say nothing of seeing a giant dragon rise into the evening sky. Each year seeing so many balloons float across the city on a morning still makes me smile (a great start to the work day!) and for Cat it was something really special to see the sky filled with colourful shapes!
Despite everything I have to say that the fiesta wasn’t as good as those in recent years. There were less non food related stalls and even less information stalls (well at least less with freebies!) than there were in the last few years. It would have been nice to see some more arts and crafts stalls akin to those that I used to see at the Flower Show. I remember one fiesta about two years ago where a man was selling perhaps the most amazing fudge and caramel, yet this year the closest to that was a pick and mix stand.
We went to the fiesta at around 4:00pm on Saturday and stayed for both the 6:00pm launch and the 9:00pm Night Glow. Cat was completely enthralled by the Night Glow. Even I have to admit that the Night Glow (and fireworks) was one of the better ones that I have seen in recent years. This was also the first fiesta with my new camera; I hope that it shows through in some of the photos. Although in the dirty weather we were having it wasn’t easy to take some of the photos I wanted! You can find my photos as always over in the Photos section, and some of the better ones can be found on bristolshutterfly.co.uk. There are also three YouTube Videos that I have posted from the night glow, that can be found here.