Over 50 hot air balloons in mass launches, tethered day and night displays, the world’s largest continuous inflatable assault course, fireworks and lasers and a fairground including rides never before seen in York and some that have only arrived in the UK this year – that is the plan for York Balloon Fiesta 2019, which is returning to the Knavesmire from 27 to 29 September 2019 with a new team firing up the burner.
York-based Events & Attractions Limited has taken over the event from founders, Oliver Webb and Damian Torrington, who are moving onto other business projects following two years of success. The 2018 event drew around 40,000 visitors to the three-day festival, and this year’s festival will further build on this. Weather permitting, the programme will include mass launches of balloons on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday morning and afternoon, as well as the incredibly popular night-glow on Friday and Saturday, with a large firework display and laser show planned for Saturday evening.
“Oliver and Damian did a superb job of creating an event that delighted local people and visitors alike, but their love lies with the balloons themselves, so we’re pleased to be able to step in with our logistical expertise to ensure the event can continue to grow, whilst Oliver will continue to co-ordinate the flights and night-glow events,” comments John Lowery, owner of Events & Attractions. “We’re investing a significant amount in both entertainment for the public and infrastructure and management to accommodate the crowds and traffic, and working in partnership with bodies across the city to tap into wider expertise of hosting events on this scale.”
York’s Ultra Fibre Optic from TalkTalk (UFO) returns as headline sponsor for York Balloon Fiesta 2019. This will be the third year of sponsorship from York’s UFO from TalkTalk as it rolls out its full fibre network across the city. York’s UFO delivers speeds of more than 900 MB through Fibre-to-the-Premise technology and is twenty times faster, more stable and reliable than other fibre products*.
York’s Ultra Fibre Optic from TalkTalk, Marketing Manager, Helen Fletcher said, “The Balloon Fiesta is such a special event for York and we’re incredibly proud to be a part of it for the third year running. It’s important to us that we connect with local residents and communities across the city as we continue work to transform York into a gigabit city. York’s Ultra Fibre Optic will be accessible to 55,000 homes and businesses by 2020 and our team will be on-site throughout the Balloon Fiesta to talk to residents and take orders. Unique events such as this highlight what a wonderful place York is to live and work and we can’t wait to be at the Fiesta in September.”
The Balloon Fiesta as always will remain a free admission event, including the night glow, fireworks show, arena entertainment and stage with live bands performing. Following feedback last year, a wider range of food will be offered, and facilities upgraded to cope with large crowds.
Managing transport and travel arrangements has been a priority for organisers. Event partners First York will be offering a dedicated park and ride service from Askham Bar, which can be prebooked for £5 per car (up to five people) using the First Bus App. First York will also operate shuttles to and from York railway station for travellers coming from further afield, with prebookable return tickets for £3. Visitors will be able to prebook parking on each of the three days for £7.50 per car (£10 on the gate), with parking and traffic management co-ordinated by SEP Events, which manages traffic for key events at York Racecourse and other major events across the UK following detailed discussion with City of York Council’s Safety Advisory Group.
“We have been working with SEP and the City of York Highways team to put in place a robust traffic management plan for the event, and will continue to work with all parties going forward. As new organisers of this event we want to ensure previous traffic issues are not repeated. This will include road closures, one way systems and no parking areas that will be published in advance and available on our website and social media,” adds John Lowery.
Head of Visit York, Paul Whiting, is pleased to see York Balloon Fiesta return: “The last two years have been incredibly successful, and this is fast becoming a key attraction in York’s event calendar. The press photos and video footage taken from the balloons give the world a wonderful view of our beautiful city, and coming at the end of September when the city is traditionally a little quieter, this gives a great boost to our hotels and restaurants, too.”
Further details will be announced later in the summer, but for more information in the meantime, please visit yorkballoonfiesta.com, yorkballoonfiesta on Facebook or @YBF2019 on Twitter.