The second Telford Balloon Festival took place on 11-12 May 2019 and Lindstrand Technologies were once again tasked with running the ballooning side of things.

After the tremendous success of the first event in 2018, expectations were high and, despite the usual mixed bag of English weather, the people of Telford were greeted to a sight of more hot air balloons flying over their town than at any time previously.

Due to strong winds, initial plans for a Friday evening flight were scuppered so the event began in earnest on Saturday morning. A handful of balloonists took to the sky in challenging conditions before the afternoon activities began at 12pm. On Saturday afternoon, the public were treated to a fun fair, food and drinks stalls and day 1 of the World’s Strongest Man competition. The weather conditions remained challenging throughout the day with former ballooning World Champion David Bareford being the only pilot to take off on Saturday evening, much to the delight of the crowds. Saturday night saw the Telford Night Glow, with a number of balloons lighting up the night sky, their pilots using their burners to illuminate the balloons in time to music. Taking centre stage in the Glow was Lindstrand’s Emoji special shape, looking luminous as it glowed. It was fabulous to see so many people enjoying the Glow and with a dazzling firework display to round it all off, people went home happy.

Sunday morning dawned and, thankfully, brought with it some lighter winds. What followed was a fabulous morning, with more than 30 hot air balloons lifting out of the town park. Amongst those flying was the giant Emoji and the Panasonic Battery. There were initial concerns around the strengths of the winds but these disappeared allowing a mass ascent of balloons on a light north easterly breeze.

From a personal perspective, Sunday morning was a training flight for me and it was wonderful to fly alongside 30 other balloons in a part of the world not overly familiar with ballooning in gorgeous Shropshire countryside. Flying in a balloon gives you such a different perspective on the landscape, and flying over a town or city can provide just as many tranquil photo opportunities as flying over the countryside. In this instance we were able to achieve both, with spectacular views of Telford and the surrounding industrial area, including the giant cooling towers at Ironbridge Power Station, when we took off. We then tracked slowly south, following the River Severn, landing in a nice big grassy field near Sutton Maddock.

The remainder of Sunday saw clear blue skies and light winds, so the crowds flocked to the QEII arena, where tethered balloons were on display, including Lindstrand’s Wes the Wolf, and food and drinks stalls, a fun fair and the second day of the World’s Strongest Man competition kept people entertained.

In the evening, a handful of balloons took to the skies to huge cheers from the crowd.

The entire event was free for the people of Telford and injected a tremendous boost to the local area, with families flocking to the town park in their thousands for 2 full days of food, drink, fun and hot air balloons.

Lindstrand Technologies organised a wonderful display of hot air balloons across the weekend and now turn their attention to balloons meets in Metz, France and Todi, Italy before the Oswestry Balloon Carnival returns in August.

Writer: Tom Orpin

Images by: Marisa D’Alessandro

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