To provide you with the best experience on this website, cookies are used. By using the site it's assumed that you're happy with our use of cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. More info on cookies.
Allow cookies

Darth Vader is coming home for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

2nd August 2019

Categories: Latest News

Six weeks ago the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta called on the people of Bristol to help bring an incredible hot air balloon, in the shape of Darth Vader’s head, home to the city.

Darth Vader is coming home for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Organisers have announced today that enough money has been raised to bring the balloon back to the UK in time for the Fiesta, which takes place next week from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 August.

The funds were raised through a crowdfund campaign, run by Fundsurfer with a target of £10,000 to pay for the balloon’s appearance and support the iconic Bristol event.

To date £4,500 has been raised which is enough to fund the balloons appearance. The campaign will remain live over the coming weeks to continue to support and raise funds for the event, which has become synonymous with the city.

Chris Allcock, chair of the 2019 Bristol International Balloon Fiesta organising committee, commented:

“The Darth Vader balloon has been pictured around the world but never against some its home city’s well-known icons. We are delighted we now have the chance to change that, thanks to the support of the people of Bristol.

“As a not-for-profit event we rely on the support of local business, organisations and visitors to raise the much-needed funds to stage this event every year. Therefore we will continue to keep the crowdfund campaign running and offer incredible rewards in return for pledges to encourage further support.”

The Darth Vader hot air balloon was built in Bristol by Cameron Balloons in 2007 but has never flown in the city, despite appearing around the world in the likes of Australia, the United States, China and Malaysia. The feat of engineering resides in Belgium and will now make the journey to Bristol from Taiwan where it most recently flew at the Taiwan International Balloon Festival.

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is a not for profit event, led by a voluntary committee and receives no public funding but costs over £750,000 to run annually. While organisers just manage to make ends meet, there are very rarely any reserves to add something special to the programme or protect the event for years to come.

In return for donations, Fiesta organisers are offering an incredible list of rewards to befit this unique and much-loved event including hot air balloon flights, a Nightglow crew experience, VIP access to hospitality areas and the arena, access to the arena for selfie opportunities with the Darth Vader balloon, balloon-themed products and limited edition works of art.

Those wishing to make a pledge can do so by visiting

Now in its 41st year, the Fiesta has become one of Europe's largest annual hot air balloon festivals, attracting over half a million locals and visitors alike.

As ever, this year’s Fiesta will open on Thursday 8 August at midday with hot air balloons tethering throughout the afternoon followed by the special shapes flight at 6pm, displaying an array of unique shaped balloons.

On Thursday and Saturday late night visitors to the festival can witness the famous Night Glows as the hot air balloons appear as giant light bulbs, a stunning sight of 30 balloons with burners roaring bright in time to the music as night falls.

Visit the fiesta on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings at 6am for ‘Breakfast and Balloons’ and watch the balloons take to the sky as the sun rises while enjoying a breakfast picnic. The balloons then take to the skies again in the evening mass ascents at 6pm and visitors are encouraged to arrive early to get a good viewing spot.

For people planning on driving to the event, car parking must be booked in advance and runs on a tiered system, so the earlier it’s booked the cheaper the price and the closer the space is to the main showground. Premium, main and disabled car parking tickets are available via the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta website.

To find out more about this year’s event visit the event website or  follow @BristolBalloon on Instagram and Twitter, or

RSS feedsRSS feeds

Search For Accommodation

Show More Options