Northampton Balloon Festival to be relaunched at the Racecourse next August after 15 years
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Northampton Balloon Festival will be relaunched next August, 15 years on from moving from its original location.
Show Time Events Group, which has taken over the running of the iconic event, has announced it will run on August 18, 19 and 20 next year.
The Balloon Festival originally took place on the Racecourse from 1989 until 2008 and will return there in 2023.
After moving to Billing Aquadrome for a number of years and then being rebranded as the Northampton Town Festival, the ambition is to reintroduce the event as a major contender in the ballooning and events calendar once again.
David Bailey of Show Time Events, who is organising and running the reestablished festival said: “We’ve been trying to make this change since 2016 and we’re really excited to build it back to what it previously was.
“We’ve only just announced the relaunch and there has been massive interest already and so many want to get involved.
“We’d like to see more than 100 balloons at the festival next year, and that they will be able to take flight every morning and night across the three days.”
David, who is also in charge of the Northampton Town Festival, says that too will still go ahead but as a separate event from the Balloon Festival.
He believes the Balloon Festival was less of a success when it moved to Billing Aquadrome due to the entrance fee, parking difficulties, and troubles getting to the location for some as it was less central than the Racecourse.
“Hosting the event at Billing didn’t do it for people,” he said. “2019 was a bad year as the weather was terrible and then the pandemic hit.”
David says balloon festivals are quick to get bad reputations if they do not take flight, but people need to remember that the slightest wind can prevent the balloons from taking off.
He said: “We’ll do our bit to have everything in place by next August for the flights to go ahead, but then it’s in the hands of the Gods.”
Attendees are reassured that if the balloons do not take off, children will be invited to get into the baskets and there will be many more activities and entertainment in place.
This will include live arena entertainment, craft, community and local produce marquees, charity stalls, a circus workshop, catering units, bars, a funfair, live stage music, and the weekend will finish with a firework finale on Sunday evening (August 20).
This change comes after several meetings among the new balloon directors – Vista Balloon Flights, Northampton Town Council and West Northamptonshire Council.
David said: “This is a much-needed injection into the town, and we believe we could see 50,000 people visit next August. We need to gain people’s trust back.”
Councillor Jane Birch, of Northampton Town Council said: “We are pleased to support the return of this spectacular Northampton festival that once drew crowds from near and far.”
To build on its welcomed return, local groups, societies, charities, companies, businesses and balloonists are invited to get involved, support and sponsor the Balloon Festival.
You can contact [email protected] in order to do so.