Thursday, December 06, 2007

Northampton Balloon Festival to stay put.

The Northampton Balloon Festival will go ahead on the Racecourse next year and not Franklin's Gardens, it has been decided.
After organisers Northampton Borough Council raised doubts about the future of the balloon festival last month due to rising costs, Northampton Saints put in an offer of help. This year's festival lost up to £160,000 after appalling weather and falling attendance figures.Saints officials said they would consider hosting the festival next year after successfully taking on the Bonfire Night fireworks, which were abandoned by the council for being too costly.Now the council has agreed to keep the festival in its usual location, but thanked the club for their offer of support.The decision to go ahead with the festival, as reported in Tuesday's Chronicle & Echo, was made by the borough council's cabinet members. Councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre), the councillor responsible for the festival, said an admission fee, which was introduced for the first time this year, was set to remain but added the council was committed to making t
he festival break even.He said: "The cabinet agreed that the balloon festival will go ahead, which I'm sure is welcome news for Northampton residents."It's a flagship event, putting Northampton on the map nationally and internationally. But our challenge is to put the event on a firm financial footing. "The balloon festival cannot continue to make a loss and be a drain on council resources. We are going to put that right."We will now invite members of the Conservative and Labour opposition parties to join a working group to advise the cabinet on the long-term strategy for the event."There will be an admission charge for this event to continue. How much that will be has not yet been decided."The 2008 festival will take place on August 15, 16 and 17.

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