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The Essex Spectacular is all set to lift off at Barleylands Show Ground near Billericay on 6-7 August 2011 and promises to be a day out that your whole family will enjoy!

This exciting new event includes the first ever Essex International Balloon Festival and will features dozens of iconic hot air balloons in a variety of sizes and shapes; including Thomas the Tank Engine - the largest of its kind in the world and a huge favourite with kids – the 100-foot tall rolled Financial Times newspaper and the famous Maxwell House coffee jar used in their famous television commercials. 

On Saturday evening (6 August), as light gives way to darkness, a stunning finale to the day will see all the balloons illuminated by their burners in the Night Glow. This will be a magical son et lumiere show, as the balloons illuminate in a sequence set to music inspired by James Bond and culminating with a fabulous firework display.

Little visitors to the show will love the Kid Zone. Run by innovative children’s entertainers the Partyman Company, there’s a whole host of free activities to enjoy, including a circus skills mini big top, the Tottenham Hotspur Roadshow, balloon modelling, a basketball shootout, a chance to chuck soaking sponges at characters in the stocks and a soft play area for Under 3s. For bigger kids (of all ages) there are a number of simulators and interactive games.   

Grown up’s will be delighted by the massive range of exhibits and experiences on offer including cars, travel, home and lifestyle. 

Taste Village

For gastronauts, one of the key highlights of the event will be the Taste Village – a spectacular mix of food, drink and regular cooking demonstrations performed by world-renowned chefs Antonio Carluccio and Cyrus Todiwala. They will be supported by some of London’s top chefs, including Paul Gayler (Executive Chef at The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner), Andrew Bennett (Executive Chef at Park Lane Hotel), Martin Nail (Executive Chef at Claridges) and more.

Motor Show

For petrol heads the Motor Show is a must-see. From affordable family cars to vehicles that would melt Jeremy Clarkson’s hair, a collection of vintage models to Heikki Kovalainen’s 2010 Lotus Formula One car, this one of the finest displays of automotive machinery ever assembled in the county. Would-be Grand Prix drivers can also demonstrate their skills against the clock and fellow racers in our two replica F1 cars.  

The Essex Spectacular was conceived by a team of Southend business people and Event Manager Paul Sayer, who says “It’s almost unbelievable that a year ago this was little more than an idea. Now it’s not only a reality but also set to be one of the most exciting and varied shows seen in years.  We’ve successfully created a brilliant, local day out that eliminates the need to travel into London or trek half way across the country to find something different to entertain the family.”

Phil Hossack of balloon operators Sky Power believes the event will attract a strong response from enthusiasts: “This is a wonderful opportunity to stage a balloon festival and set a new date on the flying calendar. The Essex Spectacular brings a regular balloon event to the South East of England for the first time and there is a large and passionate ballooning community here who are very excited about having a show so close to home at last.”   

The Essex Spectacular is more than just a day out, it is effectively five fantastic events in one but with just one ticket giving the visitor access to each zone AND a packed schedule of entertainment. 


Tickets can be purchased online, or by calling the Ticket Hotline on 01702 428888.
For full details, see

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