Balloons fill the skies for Oswestry carnival in the air - with pictures

A carnival with a difference came to Oswestry for the bank holiday weekend and these were not your typical floats.

Instead, hanging over the town were dozens of hot air balloons.

And their pilots had come from all over the world to take part in the charity extravaganza which was raising money for the Nightingale House Hospice.

The balloons arrived in Oswestry on Friday, and once they had unloaded and as the weather offered perfect flying conditions, their pilots took to the air for a night-time flight.

The event, which continues today and was previously held in Llangollen, is a joint venture between Oswestry Town Council, Oswestry BID and Per Lindstrand Balloons, based in Morda.

The Cae Glas Park was turned in to a family area on Saturday, with a funfair, street food, crafts and live music and dance. Taking centre stage were a number of balloons which were inflated much to the crowds amusement.

On Saturday night there was a Night Glow when a the pilots of the balloons lit their burners while accompanied by music from The Greatest Showman.

Oswestry Mayor, Councillor John Price said he was delighted that the event had once again been such a success with more than 10,000 people enjoying the laid back atmosphere in the park.

"Carnival fever spread throughout Oswestry and it was lovely to see," he said. "We believe that the town should offer more than just retail nowadays and this really illustrates that. I think that Oswestry is the only town in the UK to stage a balloon festival in the heart of the town. There is another one in Belgium that does the same but it really does make Oswestry unique in the UK.

"We have been very happy to welcome in pilots from all over the world and we have given them a very warm welcome.

"On Saturday morning, at 6am a number of them flew out over Chirk and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct as the weather was so fine. It has been lovely they have been able to take advantage of seeing the countryside around us, while also helping to raise money for the hospice."

There were more than 30 balloons taking part in the festival and their designs varied from a Ricoh Cube to the Longleat Koala Balloon, Adelaide.

Oswestry Balloon Carnival

"This really does show Oswestry at it's best," added Councillor Price.

Lorna Hankey from Per Lindstrand Balloons said that pilots had come to the event from as far away as Canada and Qatar. She said: "Last year we raised £6,000 for the hospice and we are hoping to double that this year. It is just a fantastic festival and is growing bit by bit each year. The response we had last year was amazing and that spurred us on to do it again. It seems that everybody really enjoys it and it raises money for a great cause."

Enjoying the event was Leza Newport and her 18-month-old daughter Eva who are both from Oswestry. She was with her friend Shelley Weeks and her seven-year-old son Olly who had travelled up to Oswestry from Kent for the weekend.

"It's great," said Leza. "I moved away for a while and then there was nothing like this in Oswestry but I think it is brilliant that they stage all these events now. It is really nice that there is this sort of thing going on."

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