Planning goes on for Balloon Carnival despite uncertainty over lockdown restrictions

Oswestry's popular balloon carnival is still set to go ahead this year, despite uncertainty over the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

The 2019 Oswestry Balloon Carnival
The 2019 Oswestry Balloon Carnival

Councillors will debate the plans for the August carnival at a meeting on Wednesday.

The management of crowds in Cae Glas park for the Night Glow will be one of the things looked at by the council.

Events manager for the council, David Clough, said the event in 2019 was a huge success, enjoying perfect weather conditions and attracting thousands of people to the Night Glow alone, making it one of the largest events Oswestry town centre has hosted in over a decade.

"However, no more than 9,500 people can be in the park at any one time and therefore management arrangements will need to differ from previous years," he said.

He said that the gates to the park would have to be closed when the capacity figure was reached.

"Anyone needing to leave, and return, could be managed by marking the wristband on exit, and marking again on return.

"A number of alternatives have been considered, such as ticketing, but the other way is the most practical. It does however lead to a number of risks including a tendency for people to stay in the park rather than go into town."

The night glow lights up Oswestry Balloon carnival. Photo: Graham Mitchell
Oswestry Balloon Carnival at Cae Glas Park

Mr Clough said the event could not take place without the support of flight director Lee Hooper and chief organiser Lorna Hankey.

"Both give their time for free as part of a donation to Nightingale House," he added.

"Weather permitting, flights take place in the early morning and later in the afternoon and then there is the main spectacle of the Night Glow held at dusk on the Saturday. During the day there is plenty of free entertainment, a fairground, and a food court to enjoy.

"There is still some uncertainty regarding the easing of Covid restrictions and the partnership will be working under the guidance of the Safety Advisory Group to ensure that it complies with any requirements."

The carnival raises money for Nightingale House Hospice.

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