Some disappointing news has come through this week to the effect that Tavistock's popular hot air balloon fiesta has been cancelled this year and looks as if the 2009 event won't take off either. The main reason given for this sad decision is the ever escalating costs and red tape, something most community events are having to endure today. To their credit Tavistock Town Council had come forward with the offer of a loan of £5000 to help the Tavistock Lions and Round Table who organise the event. However as this loan would have to be repaid out of the fiesta profits it was felt that this option wasn't really viable. To make matters worse the only two practical launching sites, at Tavistock College and land by the Tavistock Football Club, both at Crowndale, are out of commission next year because of work upgrading their respective sports facilities.
The Balloon Fiesta, admittedly not as large as the spectacular one at Bristol, has nevertheless become a major event. I have to say that the significance of such activities in local communities is colossal, apart from the huge pleasure they give and opportunities for benefiting charities they also form part of that essential glue to bind society together and give places a sense of identity. If you have read much of this blog you may realise that I am totally passionate about individuality - one of the abiding pleasures one has is knowing that all parts of this country have occasions unique to their area and that's the way it should be!
Maybe we should be more appreciative of the vast number of community events that take place in this very diverse country of ours and cherish them. It would be an absolute tragedy if cost and bureaucracy were to spell their death knell.