Oswestry held its very first balloon festival which was welcomed by thousands of people.
The festival was held at the British Ironwork Centre in aid of Nightingale House Hospice, Wrexham with a display of over 50 balloons and exciting competitions over the weekend with a night glow on Sunday.
Clive Knowles, chairman and founder of the British Ironwork centre said: “It was one high adrenaline weekend. Holding such an iconic event for charity was unbelievable. People travelled from all over to support Nightingale House Hospice.
“We capped entry to 1,000 so in respect to other events it was smaller, but we presented bespoke talent. It was quality for us rather than quantity.
“The event attracted people from all over the world with a fantastic range of balloons.
“Some of the country’s best pilots travelled in amazing balloons in all shapes and sizes. There was a huge lion to a light bulb and even a battery. We saw some of the most unique balloons and even a hot air balloon with a chair instead of a basket so you just hang in the air with a massive burner on top of your head.”
There was an aerobatic display every day which was very exciting. This included an adrenaline display where a pilot flew up high in the air and then suddenly dropped and corkscrewed down to make it look like he had run out of fuel. The event also saw the Great Britain champion of balloon modelling, who could make anything you wanted in just a few minutes. There was also fire breathing, a Victorian funfair and a food court with cuisine from all over the world.
Clive added: “For the finale we held a night glow which was absolutely sensational. Most people who attended said that they have never seen anything like it before. Balloons were illuminated in time with music and it was incredible to see.
“People came from Belgium and America to join in the fun. Someone from Belgium attended with a 40ft balloon which he tied to his arm and walked through the crowds it was spectacular to see.
“We are confident that we are bringing a national event of great high profile to Oswestry. It is extraordinary and there is only a very few in the UK. Balloons that have come from abroad will see pilots going back home and telling people how fantastic it was which means that more people will come next year.”
Oswestry Mayor, Vince Hunt introduced the finale on Sunday night on the launch field and thanked crowds for their support.
Prior to the event, the British Ironworks Centre had handed over two buckets of money to be counted, and in just those two receptacles alone there was more than £8,000 raised from donations.