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Bristol balloon fiesta to take place as ‘flypast’ in the sky

Organisers of the annual event have been forced to cancel the usual on-the-ground activities at Ashton Court because of social distancing rules.

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(Ben Birchall/PA)

(Ben Birchall/PA)

(Ben Birchall/PA)

This year’s Bristol balloon fiesta will still go ahead – but only as a “flypast” in the sky.

Organisers of the annual event have been forced to cancel the usual on-the-ground activities at Ashton Court because of social distancing rules.

The flypast will take place over the city next month and there will also be a virtual “nightglow” when tethered balloons light their burners in time to music.

Chris Allcock, chairman of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, said: “We’re all deeply saddened that we can’t gather at Ashton Court to celebrate the 42nd Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.

“We have been working with our balloonists and the authorities to create an event which adheres to the social distancing restrictions.

“We are inviting Bristolians to watch the balloons from the safety of their own doorsteps and gardens.

“Social distancing means we absolutely cannot gather in parks or Bristol’s open spaces or invite our audiences to see the balloons take off or land, to protect our pilots and the public.

“Instead we’re asking people to give them a wave as they fly past Bristol’s communities.”

The festival is the largest annual hot air balloon event in Europe and normally attracts more than 500,000 visitors.

PA