By Nigel Slater 14/06 Updated: 21/06 12:55
THOUSANDS of people celebrated this year's Evesham Balloon Festival in good spirits despite the cancellation of balloon launches.
More than 8,000 visitors from all over the country descended on Crown Meadow for a weekend full of fun and plenty of entertainment on Saturday and Sunday (June 9 and 10).
Only days before, organisers of the event had announced there would be no balloons because of safety concerns for the second year running after weather forecasts predicted high gusts of wind of up to 30mph.
But the show went on and featured stunt kite flying displays, live music, classic cars, fun fair rides, a wide variety of stalls and many other attractions throughout the two-day event.
Shawn Riley, Evesham Market Town Partnership manager at Wychavon District Council, revealed balloons could have actually been launched throughout the weekend as forecasts were not as bad as predicted.
"It all went pretty well considering we had no balloons and it was great to see so many visitors come and celebrate the occasion," he told the Observer. "The absence of balloons did put a downer on things and everyone enjoyed themselves with people dancing.
"What was frustrating for us was the forecast didn't go as we expected so we could have had balloons in the end but we could not take the risk what with the predicted forecasts.
"If we didn't announce anything beforehand and then had to cancel the balloons there would have been plenty of upset people and it would not have created a nice atmosphere. In true British style we carried on and worked with what we got.
"The live bands who played throughout were brilliant and the fireworks display at the end was absolutely fantastic."
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