‘It will just be an amazing sight’: Northampton Balloon Festival returns to the skies today

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The skies above Northampton are set to be filled with hot air balloons today and throughout the weekend as the town’s spectacular airborne festival returns for the 27th time.

Around 42 teams will take to the air for Northampton Balloon Festival, which launches at Billing Aquadrome at 6am this morning.

Residents around the town were given a visual treat on Tuesday night when a handful of balloons took to the sunny evening skies for a preview flight.

But the real thing starts in earnest today, with morning and evening flights planned from today through to Sunday.

Co-organiser, Wendy Rousell, said: “It will just be an amazing sight to see the balloons.

“It’s the 27th year and every year we try and put a good display each year. We just want to make people happy.”

Among the more unusual hot air contraptions to look out for over the weekend, the Ricoh sponsored “box” shaped balloon is certain to turn heads skywards.

All the flights will be weather dependant however and scattered showers are predicted across the weekend.

Though the thought of 42 balloons taking to the skies may seem like a logistical nightmare for any festival organiser, Mrs Rousell says each team will have its own supporting crew on the ground which will track their pilot counterparts to a landing place.

They then ask permission from the landowner to go and retrieve the balloon and pilots.

“The landowners around here are pretty great though,” added Mrs Rousell. “We don’t fly low over animals and we don’t land in crops - we are effectively landing in someone’s back garden after all.

“People are generally really happy to see us though.”

One of the festival highlights at 9pm on Saturday evening, will be the “Balloon Glow,” where the balloons will “turn into giant lanterns tethered to the ground” set to music.

For more information about the festival and flight times, head to: www.thenorthamptonballoonfestival.co.uk/