THE threat of cancellation hanging over Tavistock?s annual balloon fiesta has been lifted, following negotiations with community organisations over an alternative site.

The West Country Balloon Fiesta and Day at the Races is usually held at Tavistock College ? but major drainage works means the school?s pitches are be out of bounds.

Steve Grummitt, spokesman for Tavistock Lions, which jointly organises the event with Tavistock Round Table, said they had ?the shock of their lives? when they heard the news.

?For the event to continue, an alternative venue had to be quickly found ? and one able to offer the same support facilities, as well as space for the event and spectator car parking,? said Mr Grummitt.

He said after ?much discussion? with various organisations and individuals, a new home has been found for this year?s event, just across the road from Tavistock College.

Mr Grummitt said: ?Tavistock Football Club has offered the use of its changing facilities and showers and the social room for the necessary meetings, with the balloon ascents and nightglows taking place in the non-playing areas in the field which belongs to Crowndale Recreational Association.

?The main arena for the Day at the Races and all other public attractions will be in the next field, locally known as Toop?s Meadow, with car parking in the next field, both of which are farmed by John Dawe.?

Mr Grummitt said the Lions and Round Table were ?delighted? with the support shown by everyone concerned and said without their co-operation, this year?s event, to be held during August Bank Holiday weekend, would probably have been cancelled.

Robin Fenner, football club chairman, and Mike Jeffries, CRA treasurer and chairman of the Crowndale Users? Group, said they were ?extremely pleased? their organisations had played a part in ensuring such a big event could still take place.

Mr Jefferies said Crowndale Users Group was initially concerned the newly-seeded football pitches at the site would be damaged during the event, but organisers have said only balloonists would have access to the area for balloon inflation and the two night glows ? and this will take place well away from playing areas.

Mr Fenner said the football club would allow pedestrian access along the western side of the pitch to the main arena, avoiding the necessity of walking along the Crowndale Road. The club will also sell breakfasts on the Saturday and Sunday, to raise funds.

The final planning stages of the event are now well under way. On Friday, August 22 there will be a limited number of balloon ascents plus the spectacular ?night glow?, when tethered inflated balloons light their burners in time to classical music.

Further ascents will take place at 6.30am on Saturday and the gates will open for the main event at 3pm, with the Day at the Races pantomime horse racing starting at 4pm.

There will be many other attractions including giant bouncy inflatables, trade stands, a licensed bar, food stalls and a charity bazaar.

The main ascent, for which 30 balloons have registered so far, will start at 6.30pm on Saturday, followed by a balloon glow at 9pm. Sunday?s events will also include the Far West Tug of War championships.

The event is free but there is a charge for car parking. Last year a considerable sum was raised for local charities, including £3,000 for Children?s Hospice South West. This year the clubs are supporting St Luke?s Hospice.

There is still space for organisations to take part in the charity bazaar or to use advertising space on the 30ft airship which will be tethered over the site. For details, call Steve Grummitt on 01822 615526.