North Yorkshire: balloon goes up on spectacular late-summer festival

Posted by Jonathan Broom on 16 October 2018
Related property: Bell End Farm, Rosedale
North Yorkshire: balloon goes up on spectacular late-summer festival

Having returned for a couple of encores and a curtain call or two: as I write, the glorious summer of 2018 is finally, reluctantly, ‘exiting stage left’. And what a show it’s been.

But as the leaves started to turn golden and the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” waited in the wings, summer’s last hoorah, certainly in North Yorkshire, was both spectacular and beautiful.

Over the weekend of 28th to 30th September, some 50 hot air balloons (see picture at top) took part in the York Balloon Fiesta. Balloons of different shapes and colours, piloted by enthusiasts from across the UK, took to the air from the Knavesmire – home to York Racecourse, 42 miles south of Bell End Farm – twice a day during the course of the three-day festival.

The 'nightglow' balloons prepare to take flight

Twenty-five thousand people, visitors and locals, attended the event on each of the three days, and admired the graceful dirigibles above – the ‘nightglow’ illuminated-balloon flights (above) were particularly awesome – while enjoying the entertainments provided at ground level: a funfair complete with Victorian-inspired rides (below); live music from the Hyde Park Brass Band and local group Bluephunk; a beer tent; tasty street-food stalls from Yorkshire vendors; and, on the Saturday night, a brilliant firework display.

A ride into the past: the Fiesta's Victorian-themed funfair

The Little Vikings (motto: “York for Kids”) were on hand too, offering a range of activities, workshops and games to keep the youngsters entertained.

But why tell you all this now? Why train the retrospect-a-scope on one of the highlights of late summer, when we’re all still feeling its loss so keenly?

Because it’s planning for the future that eases the pain of what’s past. September 2018 saw only the second staging of the York Balloon Fiesta – but the city, and North Yorkshire, know when they’ve got a hit on their hands. The 2018 festival was bigger and better that the inaugural year, by a country mile; and next year – already nailed on for mid-September – will be another quantum leap forward. The city, and the festival organisers, are already planning it; just as you’re already planning next summer’s holidays.

Because it’s good to have something to look forward to. And if you’re lucky enough to be holidaying in Rosedale around the middle of next September, you may have more to look forward to than most.

And – get this – it’s FREE!

To reach the Knavesmire Racecourse from Bell End Farm, follow the A170, A169, A64 and A1036. The journey will take just over an hour.

Jonathan Broom

Jonathan Broom

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