This weekend I took the boys to Bristol Balloon Fiesta for the first time. If you haven’t heard of it before it is a free festival with mass assent balloon launches at 6am and 6pm as well as night glows on selected days. You can book car parking in advance, although there is a park and ride and a field directly outside the entrance that was only charging £5 to park.
If you absolutely want to see the mass ascent, your best bet is to go for the 6am one. Generally, the weather conditions are better at this time of day. They will only make the decision at the time, so it could be that you get there and then there is no ascent. If possible they will try and tether some balloons. Unfortunately none of the evening ascents happened except the one on the Sunday. Yes we were counting our lucky stars!
We arrived at the Balloon Fiesta at around 4pm, as the information on the website said that you needed to be there before 5pm. I should start by saying here that I am not a fan of festivals. Personally, I find them expensive. They just generally have lots of expensive things that the children want to do/eat and I don’t want to pay for.
Bristol Ballon Fiesta is no different. There are numerous stalls selling food, drinks and sweets. In addition there are inflatibles (£4 for 15 mins) a big wheel (around £5 per person) and a circus (again around £5 per person.) A friend of mine did the circus and enjoyed it.
There are a number of free activities too and this tended to be where the queues were. There was a Playdoh tent, Nerf gun shooting and the boys also met Optimus Prime. None really took more than a few minutes to do aside from queuing.
I was excited that the Bloodhound was there, but I’m not sure the boys remembered seeing the K’Nex model a few years back!
For the mass assent there is plenty of space for people to sit on the grass around the arena. People bought fold up chairs and picnic mats to sit on. We were extremely lucky to be able to see the balloons from the members tent thanks to Red Letter Days, which gave us a close up view.
At the entrance you can purchase a souvenir programme for £2. I wouldn’t usually go for something like this, but inside was a spotting guide for the balloons. Little man loved this and took it rather seriously.
Here is a short video to give you an idea of the mass ascent.
We enjoyed our visit to the fiesta. They also have a night glow and fireworks on certain days which I would love to take the children to when they are older. For other children’s reactions to the Fiesta, check out this blog post from Red Letter Days.