Think you could take this on?

The Labyrinth Challenge – the world’s largest continuous inflatable assault course – is coming to York.


It is one of the fresh features for the relaunched York Balloon Fiesta, which returns to Knavesmire from 27 to 29 September.

The 1,000ft long bouncy obstacle course features five different zones – lava, ocean, toxic, combat and jungle, and offers a chance for “adults to behave like children”.

New team, new programme

The mass flights and night glows will be back. Photograph: Richard McDougall
More than 50 hot air balloons in mass launches, tethered day and night displays,fireworks and lasers and a fairground including rides never before seen in York are among the other plans for York Balloon Fiesta.

York-based Events & Attractions Limited has taken over the event from founders, Oliver Webb and Damian Torrington, who are moving onto other business projects following two years of success.

The 2018 event drew around 40,000 visitors to the three-day festival, and this year’s festival will further build on this.


Weather permitting, the programme will include mass launches of balloons on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday morning and afternoon, as well as the incredibly popular night-glow on Friday and Saturday, with a large firework display and laser show planned for Saturday evening.

Oliver will continue to co-ordinate the flights and night-glow events, said John Lowery, owner of Events & Attractions, adding:

  • We’re investing a significant amount in both entertainment for the public and infrastructure and management to accommodate the crowds and traffic, and working in partnership with bodies across the city to tap into wider expertise of hosting events on this scale.

More food options

John Lowery, owner of Events & Attractions, and Helen Fletcher, marketing manager York’s Ultra Fibre Optic from TalkTalk, ready to launch York Balloon Fiesta 2019
York’s Ultra Fibre Optic from TalkTalk (UFO) returns as headline sponsor for York Balloon Fiesta 2019.

This will be the third year of sponsorship from York’s UFO from TalkTalk as it rolls out its full fibre network across the city.

The Balloon Fiesta as always will remain a free admission event, including the night glow, fireworks show, arena entertainment and stage with live bands performing.

Following feedback last year, a wider range of food will be offered, and facilities upgraded to cope with large crowds.

And there’s a new traffic plan to counter the road gridlock which hit the fiesta last year.

Balloon traffic plan

Card image cap

First York will be offering a dedicated park and ride service from Askham Bar, which can be prebooked for £5 per car (up to five people) using the First Bus App.

First York will also operate shuttles to and from York railway station for travellers coming from further afield, with prebookable return tickets for £3.

Visitors will be able to prebook parking on each of the three days for £7.50 per car (£10 on the gate), with parking and traffic management co-ordinated by SEP Events, which manages traffic for key events at York Racecourse and other major events across the UK following detailed discussion with City of York Council’s Safety Advisory Group.

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