A DRIVE-IN fireworks display could be on the cards for York as talks are held to find a venue.

John Lowery, whose company has been forced to cancel the York Balloon Fiesta in September, is exploring ways to adapt as the events industry is among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

The fiesta is now expected to take place from May 28 to 31, 2021. Last year’s three-day event attracted more than 25,000 people, despite wet weather conditions making it impossible for any hot air balloons to leave the ground.

John Lowery, director of Events & Attractions which ran the free fiesta last year, said this year’s cancellation had been a difficult but necessary decision with mass gatherings unlikely.

“We have been optimistic all the way. We were hoping Boris’s speech would have given us some guidelines on his road map but he didn’t. We had to make the decision quickly.”

He said it was “a sad time” for the industry. “I think we have to write this year off. Within days of lockdown we lost £250,000 of business. We have some events pencilled in for October and November but we are expecting to lose them.

“We are looking to adapt. We are looking at social distancing measures and sanitisation stations. We provide rides where people sit next to each other. We are waiting for Government guideline on the amusement attractions.”

He added: “Even though it is months away, I can’t see a situation where the government will allow 10,000 people in one place. So we are in talks about possibly doing a drive-in fireworks display in November in York.

“We are talking to some venues. People would come in their cars and stay in their cars. There’s no contamination; everyone is socially distanced.”

Meanwhile, the Balloon Fiesta in 2021 will feature hot air balloons, children’s entertainment, live music, tribute acts, food and drink, a funfair, the Hot Air Balloon Night Glow - with balloons lit up by their burners in a choreographed display, and a fireworks and laser show.

John said the new date promised to bring warmer weather and the potential to attract bigger balloons, as many are usually at a festival in America in September.

2019 was the first year Events & Attractions ran the fiesta, having taken it over after providing the fun fair for two years.

John said they invested £17,000 into the traffic management last year, with the event costing £120,000 to run.