Page last updated at 08:57 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 09:57 UK

Balloonists celebrate 30 years

Night-glow event at the fiesta
The night-glow event at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Thousands of visitors are heading to Bristol for the 30th year of the annual International Balloon Fiesta.

The four-day event will starts later with a Night Glow event of balloons, burners and music.

A mass balloon ascent made up of about 150 balloons will be launched, weather permitting, as part of the celebrations.

Susan Tanner, event organiser, said "there is nothing that beats the sky over Bristol filled with 150 balloons".

As part of the 30th celebrations, The Red Arrows will perform an aerial display on Sunday from 1600 BST.

BALLOON LAUNCHES
Thursday 7 August 1800 BST 'Special Shapes' launch and tether
Friday 8 August - 0600 and 1800 BST
Saturday 9 August - 0600 and 1800 BST
Sunday 10 August - 0600 and 1800 BST

The fiesta, which began with just 27 balloons, has grown to become one of the world's biggest ballooning events with more than 500,000 spectators descending on the Ashton Court site each year.

Traffic measures are in place to deal with the expected crowds with the Clifton Suspension Bridge closed during most of the event.

Ian Fergusson, BBC West weatherman, said most shower activity was expected to fade by the evening's Night Glow.

"Friday promises a pretty good day, crisp blue skies and sunny spells, with fewer showers around, so flying should be possible for much of the day."

But he said heavy rain was forecast for much of Saturday.

"Hopefully Sunday will fare better as the afternoon wears on but it's essentially a wet and breezy weekend for Bristol," he said.

The first planned mass ascent - on Thursday evening - was cancelled because of adverse weather.


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SEE ALSO
Night-glow 'one of the best ever'
12 Aug 07 |  Bristol/Somerset
Balloons' mass ascents over city
10 Aug 07 |  Bristol/Somerset
Traffic plan to ease congestion
06 Aug 07 |  Bristol/Somerset

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