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Eastbourne Prepares for Lift Off as South Coast’s First Hot Air Balloon Festival Comes to Town

26 July 2017

The Eastbourne International Hot Air Balloon Festival makes its debut this weekend as the South East’s only Hot Air Balloon Festival, sponsored by London Gatwick Airport. Visitors are set for a high flying weekend of colourful hot air balloon displays and an unbeatable entertainment line-up on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July.

Hot Air Balloons


If Eastbourne’s famous sunny weather shines all weekend, the festival’s main arena is set to see hot air balloon flights at both dawn and dusk. Hampden Park is ready to shine on Saturday evening with the incredible Night Glow as the tethered balloons illuminate for a mesmerising display. Throughout the day, static displays of tethered balloons will take centre stage in Hampden Park from 10-11.30am and 1-3pm on Saturday and on Sunday from 10am-12pm.

Hot Air Balloon Festival Organiser, Sandy Boyce-Sharpe said “It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity to be the first to host a hot air balloon festival in the South East and it’s fantastic to have Gatwick Airport’s support. We’re looking forward to a fabulous weekend with plenty to see and do, both in the air and on the ground. We can’t wait to welcome thousands of people to Eastbourne to enjoy this fun-filled event.”

The headline sponsor for the high flying event is Gatwick Airport, with donations also being received from Gardners Books, Nigel Goodyear and partners, Tesco Bags of Help, the Park Friends Group, Grand Lottery and donations from local Councillors.

Paula Aldridge, Gatwick Community Engagement Manager said “We are proud to be headline sponsor of the South East’s first Hot Air Balloon Festival and look forward to a fun filled weekend for the local community.”

The hot air balloon bonanza will be opened by the High Sheriff of East Sussex, Maureen Chowen at 11am, followed by a moving rendition of “Up, up and away” sung by Friends of Tigwell Park.

There’s just as much to be admired on the ground as in the air as Hampden Park welcomes an impressive display of classic cars. Amongst the vehicles is a fire engine and miniature ride-on steam trains for all the family to enjoy.

Animal lovers will enjoy Sunday’s line-up as the Hot Air Balloon Festival welcomes pampered pooches to the dog show which will be raising money for Sussex Pet Rescue.

There will be plenty of opportunity for refreshment with sample brewery drays, delightful cream teas and treats from the food and drink stalls or shop at the farmers market. The little ones can enjoy a whole host of fun activities from a fun fair, bouncy castle and soft play to a mini circus performance.

With top family entertainment with a jam-packed line-up on the live stage, audiences will be mesmerised by magicians, Britain’s Got Talent impressionist Drew Cameron and an uncanny tribute to Sir Elton John. There’s plenty of local talent providing the soundtrack for the weekend as visitors can expect to hear everything from jazz greats to rock music.

Showing off their impressive moves is Park School of Dancing on Saturday, followed by Miss Kimmy’s School of Dancing and Cheerleading plus Morris Dancing on Sunday. On both days, visitors will be pleasantly surprised by a flash mob by Archway Flash Mob Choir.

Balloons aren’t the only thing visitors can expect to catch in the sky. Brighton Kite Flying Displays will be letting their colourful and quirky kites soar all weekend.
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