PICTURE GALLERY: First hot air balloons take off from 25th annual Northampton Balloon Festival

The first hot air balloons took off from Billing Aquadrome in Northampton this morning to mark the 25th anniversary of the festival.

The balloons took off from Billing Aquadrome just before 6.30am this morning (Friday) as part of the annual Northampton Balloon Festival which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Northampton Ballon Festival 2014. By Northants Photography.

Northampton Ballon Festival 2014. By Northants Photography.

More than 40 hot air balloons from all across the country are due to attend the birthday event, from today (Friday) until Sunday, taking to the skies at 6am and 6pm every day, weather permitting.

Park manager, Mark McGarry, said “We are very excited to be hosting the festival again and very proud that it will be celebrating its 25th anniversary at Billing Aquadrome.

“It will certainly be a fun-filled weekend.”

On the ground the event promises plenty for visitors to enjoy, including a fun fair, inflatables, go karts, pedal boats and a trade stands craft fair.

The American Auto Club will also be staging an event all weekend.

Barry Newman, director of the Balloon Festival, said: “Billing Aquadrome provides a good location for the festival.

“It is one of the events that Northampton is known for around the world.”

Day tickets are priced £10 per car (up to five occupants) and weekend camping and touring pitches are available from £20 per night.

The Northampton Balloon Festival began in 1989 on The Racecourse and quickly gained a reputation for being among the country’s biggest, along with Southampton and Bristol.

For more information about the event, visit www.thenorthamptonballoonfestival.co.uk and follow @officialnbf on Twitter.

*Photos by Northants Photography @northantsphotog on Twitter*