Hot air balloons took flight recently to launch the upcoming Newbury Balloon Festival, which will take place in the summer.
Passengers in the first trips included the chief executive of Newbury Showground, Daren Bowyer, and the director of the Newbury Business Improvements District, Russell Downing.
Two balloons went up early on the morning of 20th April. They soared high above the town centre as they made their way from the community’s Victoria Park to Newbury Showground, which is set to be the home of the festival when it takes place on 17th-19th July.
The event’s organiser, Richard Garvie, told reporters that he came up with the idea for the festival after several hot air balloon owners told him that they were interested in playing a part in the local Thatcham firework event, which he also organises.
“I originally got a call from Jonathan Harris at the ballooning club two years ago, as he wanted to know if we would have them on site to do a night glow. At the time, I didn’t know what it would involve in terms of paperwork and health and safety, and time was against us.”
It was, in the end, the terrible weather at the 2014 fireworks event that prompted him to look into the prospect of a hot air balloon festival.
Twenty balloons have already pledged to appear at the summer event, with many enquiries still pouring in, according to Mr Garvie.
Ballooning festivals are very popular across the country now, with hot air balloon rides from South Wales to Scotland enabling everyone to try out the experience for themselves.