Countdown to annual balloon race under way

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Setup was beginning Tuesday for the rides that will be part of the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race Festival, which begins bright and early Friday with the Budweiser Fun Flight at 7 a.m.

As usual, the weekend will include balloon races as well as the festival with children’s activities, food vendors and great music.

On Friday night, the gates open at 6 p.m. and the festivities start with the balloon glow.

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Admission for adults Friday night is $5 and $1 for children. Children six and under are free.

The Balloon Glow in two states puts about 60 balloons on the riverfronts of Natchez and Vidalia, creating a &uot;jack-o-lantern effect,&uot; according to Peter Burns, balloon glow coordinator.

About 8 p.m., Vicksburg band The Chill hits the stage. These six guys have been playing since the late 1970s, Burns said.

They bring guitars, horns, percussion and vocals and &uot;fun personalities,&uot; Burns said, to their eclectic musical stylings.

They play music from Motown, classic rock and dance music from the 1950s to the 1990s.

They are a &uot;great band that would suit a variety of tastes,&uot; Burns said.

Saturday is filled with the normal festivities of the balloon race &045; the food, the children’s village, the crafts &045; but also with many local bands and music from a ZZ Top tribute band to dance to rock ‘n’ roll.

Saturday admission is $15 for adults and $3 for children. Those 6 years old and under are free. A weekend pass for adults is $20 and for children is $5.

Sunday, admission for adults is $5 and $3 for children.

Saturday’s morning liftoff is at 7 a.m. with the festival opening at 11 a.m.

Saturday’s music includes The Brint Anderson Band; The Rock for Real Revue; Juice Newton; and Cowboy Mouth.

Sunday liftoff is at 7:30 a.m. and the festival opens at noon.

Sunday’s entertainment includes Easy Eddie and the Partyrockers; the cast of &uot;Beatlemania,&uot; from Broadway; and Leon Russell.