York Balloon Fiesta was due to be one of the first big live events in the city this year – but it’s now been rescheduled.
Organisers had hoped to put on the event in late May. However, due to the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, they have postponed it until 24-26 September on Knavesmire.
And it has a new, regional name: the Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta.
It is the North’s largest such event, welcoming more than 35,000 people and filling the skies above York with 50 or more colourful hot air balloons.
Organiser John Lowery said: “Unfortunately, we have had to postpone our event from May until September 2021 – our usual event dates – on the Knavesmire.
“This is because currently we feel holding the event in May could be too early in relation to the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
“Therefore, we will take Matt Hancock’s word that every adult will have been offered the vaccine by September, and then deliver you Yorkshire’s biggest, best Balloon Fiesta yet.”
Changes coming in
This year, the event site will be fenced off. This will allow organisers to adhere to any government guidance related to the pandemic, such as limiting capacity and using track and trace.
Previously free to all, this year’s Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta will charge £3 to anyone over 1m tall. This gets you a wristband which allows you entry as many times as you require during the full three days.
And £1 from each wristband entry will be split and donated between three charities: St Leonard’s Hospice, York Rescue Boat and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
New for this year’s Fiesta will be a giant firework, laser and drone show finale on the Sunday evening. This will celebrate the work of key workers during the pandemic.
And there’s the return of the popular hot air balloon night glows on both Friday and Saturday evenings (weather permitting).
Included in the entry fee there will be entertainment on the main stage all weekend hosted by YorkMix Radio Breakfast Show presenters Ben Fry and Laura Castle, along with Ryan Swain from the Saturday Party Mix.
CBeebies’ Andy & the Oddsocks will perform live, and there’s music from the main stage with headliners Phats and Small, Abba Arrival, The Dolly Parton Experience, Definitely Oasis and Sam Sax.
There will also be York’s largest funfair with some of Europe’s largest rides including the world’s longest continuous inflatable assault course and Wild mouse rollercoaster.
New for 2021 It’s a Knockout Competition with a prize of £2,000 cash to the winning team.