British Ironwork Centre to host popular Wales International Balloon Festival in 2017

Reporter:

Colin Channon

ONE of the most colourful and spectacular events in north Wales will be heading to Oswestry next summer.

The Wales International Balloon Festival, which has been held in Llangollen since 1997, will be held at the British Ironwork Centre over the bank holiday weekend in August.

The highly-successful event has become more popular every year, and the Ironworks has the space available to allow it to grow into a major event.

The festival will take place on the weekend of August 26 and 27 and will be held in collaboration with Lindstrands.

Per Lindstrand first appeared on the international ballooning scene in 1978 and then went on to create Lindstrand Technologies Ltd based in Oswestry.

He is well-known for his record-breaking hot air balloon flights and for his attempts to be the first to fly a Rozière balloon around the earth with Sir Richard Branson.

Sophia Knowles, the operations director at the British Ironwork Centre, said: “Shropshire is such a beautiful, scenic county, it really is a wonderful area to embark on a balloon flight.

“We are very excited about this event.

“Although we are still in early discussions in regards to the activities that will be taking place, there will be hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes which will dominate the Shropshire skyline.

“Some of the balloons, once inflated, will stand more than 100ft tall.”

On both the Saturday and Sunday, there will be a morning flight, with the balloons taking off at sunrise. They will fly again in the late afternoon before the balloons light up their fires for Saturday’s ‘evening glow’, which is a spectacular sight.

The Sunday will see a Great Balloon Race, as pilots set off in pursuit of the ‘hare’.

Sophia added: “There will be an array of balloons tethered throughout both days, and Lindstrands are going to be bringing some of their most imaginative balloons.

“There will be a number of other attractions and demonstrations to keep visitors entertained.

“With plenty of activities taking place throughout the festival fields, it promises to be a fantastic couple of days for the whole family.

“We are really hoping to establish the festival as one of the best ballooning events in the UK, and one not to be missed.

“Oswestry is one of the original founding places for the hot air balloon because of Lindstrands, so it is only right that the balloon festival takes place here – there is a huge amount of ballooning history in the town.

“I think it’s fantastic for Oswestry to be able to really celebrate this.”

The event will raise funds for Nightingale House Hospice, in Wrexham which provides specialist palliative care service for patients with life-limiting illness across Shropshire and beyond.

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