Balloon Race artwork ready for lift off

Published 11:38 pm Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NATCHEZ — Balloons floating through the air over the Mississippi River Bridge will be a common sight in the coming days.

And that exact scene has been captured in the design of The Great Mississippi River Balloon Race T-shirt design.

This year’s shirt is a look down Silver Street with balloons coming over the bridge.

Email newsletter signup

Mimi Miller, Historic Natchez Foundation’s director of programs, said her organization, which is in charge of logo, sales and vendors, is happy with this year’s design.

But, on the first try, the T-shirts didn’t come out exactly as planned.

“The printer went in to sharpen the letters at the bottom and misspelled

balloon when he retyped the letters,” Miller said. “For a while, we thought were going to have a ‘ballon’ race.”

But luckily, the printing company stepped in and came up with a solution.

The solution is the strategic placement of a hot-air balloon over the word ballon.

Now the shirts reads like the famous “I love New York” shirts.

“It now reads The Great Mississippi River Balloon race with a picture of the balloon instead of the word,” Miller said. “We think it actually improved the design tremendously.”

Once a solution was settled on, Miller said the staff at Ward’s really stepped up to fix the 4,200 shirts.

They brought six people and five heat machines to Natchez from Meadville to fix each T-shirt.

This year’s design was created by William Smith of New Orleans, formerly of Natchez. Smith has designed the T-shirts for two other balloon festivals, 2004 and 2006.

Smith is the son of Marion and Carolyn Smith of Natchez.

Miller said artwork for the festival’s logo is submitted for approval each year. If the design is chosen, the artist is paid for the design.

“If we happen to get a couple of good designs in one year we will keep it and use it later,” Miller said.

Short sleeved, long-sleeved and sweatshirts are available. Miller said can huggies, necklaces and pins are also available to commemorate the annual festival.

Items can be purchased before the festival begins at the Historic Natchez Foundation or at the visitor’s center.

Shirts area available in youth and adult sizes and start at $15 for a youth sized T-shirt.