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Bristol Balloon Fiesta reveals special shapes line up

The Bristol Balloon Fiesta has announced a line up of special shaped balloon's for this year's event including a Darth Vader and Simbaloo the longleat lion.

Organisers teased the special shapes line-up with the announcement of the Darth Vader crowd funder last week.

The Darth Vader balloon will hopefully be making its first Bristol appearance this summer, thanks to the continued support of the public.

In celebration of the 'Icons of Bristol' theme, the crowd funder aims to bring the balloon home to the city it was built in to join some of the Fiesta favourites for the first time, whilst raising money for the event. 

The first wave of special shapes also includes Buster the Bulldog and Maxwell House, who will be gracing the Bristol skies once more, joining the Stowells's Wine Box, Belvoir Balloon and the Cube and modern favourite Simbaloo the Longleat Lion is returning for its third year. 

Fiesta fans will also get the chance to see an all new addition to the skies with the appearance of the Oh Bear, flying in from Taiwan for his first UK appearance. 

There will also be some old faces to the Fiesta this year, with the iconic Paddy Power Pants and Snow White returning to the launch field for the first time since 2013, and joining them, family and fiesta favourite, Busbee the Queens Guard will once again return to tower over the crowd.

Over the years special shapes have played a huge part of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, a free weekend of family-friendly fun, and the sight of these wonderfully designed balloons have captured the hearts and minds of balloon lovers since they were first introduced in 1997.

Now in its 41st year the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is firmly established as Europe's largest annual hot air balloon festival and one of the UK's top 5 outdoor events.

The iconic images of Bristol and balloons have become synonymous with the city and are seen around the world.

As ever, the Fiesta will open on Thursday at midday with hot air balloons tethering throughout the afternoon followed by the regular special shapes flight at 6pm. 

Early mornings at the Fiesta are a truly spectacular sight with mass ascents taking place at 6am and 6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

These truly magical moments will see over 100 hot air balloons from across the globe take to the skies of Bristol.

When darkness falls at the Fiesta on Thursday and Saturday, the stage is set for the world-famous Night Glow.

Spectators can watch as the balloons light up like giant light bulbs in time to music, illuminating the night's sky to a brand new specially commissioned soundtrack, before closing with a spectacular firework finale. 

The festival will take place from Thursday the 8th to Sunday the 11th of August. 

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