Biggar's Hot Air Balloon and Motorbike Festival

SKIRLING man Graeme Houston is literally a high flyer in his day job as chief pilot for local company Scotair Balloons, of The Old Farmhouse, Skirling Mill.

And he admits that his latest role — as event director of a Hot Air Balloon and Motorbike Festival coming to Biggar Showground from July 28 to 30 — also has him as high as a kite!

"I would hope that 20,000 people will attend this event over the three days," said 44-year-old Graeme, who has flown hot air balloons for 23 years.

"It is terrifying trying to organise this thing in the current economic climate. But if we can get it to work, it could become a flagship event for this area."

Graeme believes that an event stand-out will be the night glow performances on the Friday and Saturday evenings, when the balloons will be lit up in time to music.

He added: "They have it every year at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, which attracted between 250,000 and 400,000 people last year."

The final day will also see motorbike displays by bikers and bike clubs from the UK, Ireland and Europe.

Running daily from 6am to 10.30pm, the festival will also feature motorbike competitions including custom bikes, classics etc, ride outs, processions, trade stands and food and drink.

And on Friday and Saturday night, top European tribute bands Sample Minds and Mind2Mode — who between them will perform classics by Simple Minds, U2 and Depeche Mode - will perform.

Admission to the event is 9 for adults and 5 for concessions, with a 1 online discount for people visiting

For more information on this story, pick up a copy of this week's Carluke and Lanark Gazette which is in the shops now.

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