Northampton Balloon Festival
The original festival was held in The Racecourse and managed by the Borough Council, and took place over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday in mid-August. The main features of the festival were the twice-daily hot air balloon lifts and a balloon glow, but other attractions included trade stalls, live music and arena entertainment.
The first festival was held in 1990. The start attractions were the Chubb fire extinguisher and the Rupert The Bear balloons. In its early years The Northampton balloon was a soaring success with families encouraged to come and enjoy the weekend, looking at balloons and visiting various trade stalls across the park.
In 2001 the festival was joined with the Northampton Town Show (previously held during July) to become the Northampton Festival, but has since reverted to its original name. Sadly the early years of the new millennium coincided with the rise of the "chav" and a growing obsession behind making money the festival became an oversized fairground full of topless louts. This was clearly the beginning of the end for what had become one of the town´s prized attractions.
The 2007 festival was a disaster due to poor attendance caused by bad weather on the last two days and the fact that the council decided to charge adults for admission, which discouraged many adults without young children from attending and spending money at the stalls.
The Borough Council ceased its funding and in mid-2009 the festival was revived by new organisers and moved to Billing Aquadrome. It took place 14–16 August 2009 at the new location with free admission.
The 2010 Northampton Balloon Festival was once again based at Billing Aquadrome, however that year the organisers chose to charge entry. The Balloon Festival sat alongside an existing event, the American Car Show and included a variety of stalls and fairground rides.
In 2012, it was announced that Pure Leisure, the owners of Billing Aquadrome had agreed sponsorship of the event, for a further 3 years.
The Balloon Festival was held on Friday 15 to Sunday 17 August 2014, 14-16 August 2015 and between 19-21 August 2016.
- The Official Website of The Northampton Balloon Festival
- BBC guide to the Balloon Festival
- Northampton Balloon Festival Website - Picture gallery of past festivals
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