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August 13, 2010
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2010
The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is a world-class hot air ballooning festival held in Ashton Court on the edge of Bristol, United Kingdom. Around half a million people from across the country and beyond flock to the event over four days each August. This year, the Fiesta is celebrating the 'golden jubilee' of ballooning. A full complement of 150 balloons are expected at this year's event, a third more than took part last year. Mass ascents of the balloons normally take place from the main arena at 6am and 6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Fiesta if the weather permits. Up to 900 flights are set to take place over the four days of the event. (24 images)

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Crowds watch as tethered balloons are illuminated by their burners during the nightglow evening event at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. More than 500,000 people are expected to attend the four-day hot-air ballooning event which should see over 150 balloons take to the skies. The international event - which started in 1978 and now attracts balloon teams from across the world including the UK, Dubai, and the United States - is celebrating 50 years of modern ballooning this year. Getty Images / Matt Cardy


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Crowds watch as tethered balloons are illuminated by their burners during the nightglow evening event at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Spectators watch a hot air balloon night glow display during the 32nd Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol on August 12, 2010. AFP/ Getty Images / Ben Stansall



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A spectator watches the hot air balloon night glow during the 32nd Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol on August 12, 2010. AFP/ Getty Images / Ben Stansall



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A couple watches as tethered balloons are illuminated by their burners during the nightglow evening event at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Crowds watch as tethered balloons are illuminated by their burners during the nightglow evening event at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Crowds watch as tethered balloons are illuminated by their burners during the nightglow evening event at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Tethered balloons are illuminated by their burners during the nightglow evening event at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Crowds watch as tethered balloons are illuminated by their burners during the nightglow evening event at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Crowds watch as tethered balloons are illuminated by their burners during the nightglow evening event at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Special shapes balloons are inflated and tethered for display at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Balloonists help deflate the Bristol Belle, the first modern balloon in Western Europe that was built in 1967, at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Special shapes balloons are inflated and tethered for display at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 12, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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A balloonist inflates his hot air balloon before a mass assent flight at the 32nd Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol, south-west England, on August 13, 2010. Weird and wonderful shapes filled the skies as Europe's biggest hot air balloon festival marked the golden jubilee of modern ballooning. AFP/ Getty Images / Ben Stansall



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Balloonists hold down a basket as hot-air balloons begin to rise into the early morning sky during the mass assent at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 13, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Pilot John Sproat adjusts the burners as hot-air balloons begin to rise into the early morning sky during the mass assent at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 13, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Hot-air balloons begin to rise into the early morning sky during the mass assent at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 13, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Hot-air balloons begin to rise into the early morning sky during the mass assent at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 13, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Hot-air balloons begin to rise into the early morning sky during the mass assent at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 13, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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Hot-air balloons begin to rise into the early morning sky during the mass assent at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court estate on August 13, 2010 in Bristol, England. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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A hot air balloon flies above a residential area of Bristol, south-west England, on August 13, 2010, during a mass assent flight at the 32nd Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol, south-west England, on August 13, 2010. AFP/ Getty Images / Ben Stansall



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Hot air balloon's rise into the air during a mass assent flight at the 32nd Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol, on August 13, 2010. AFP/ Getty Images / Ben Stansall



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Hot air balloon's rise into the sky above Bristol, south-west England, on August 13, 2010, during a mass assent flight at the 32nd Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. AFP/ Getty Images / Ben Stansall



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A hot air balloon is inflated in front of Bristol Cathedral on August 9, 2010 in Bristol, England. The dawn flight was a preview for the International Balloon Fiesta which opens in Bristol this week and will see balloon teams from across the world gather in the city. Getty Images / Matt Cardy



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