Get ready for lift off this weekend

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 17, 2014

The 29th annual Great Mississippi River Balloon Race begins today and by all indications, this year’s event should be one of the best ever.

Weather forecasts thus far seem ideal for balloon flying — light winds less than 10 miles per hour with sunny skies today, Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures are predicted to be in the low 80s to high 70s during the day with pleasant fall evening temperatures hovering in the low 60s tonight to around 55 on Saturday night.

That’s great news for Natchez and Vidalia area residents who enjoy going to the balloon race events and for merchants who anticipate having one of their best revenue weekends of the year.

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At the end of last year’s balloon race, the future of the event seemed in doubt. Inclement weather during recent balloon races meant balloon flights were sporadic at best and attendance at festival events was poor.

Balloon race events offer something for all ages. Friday’s Balloon Glow is nothing short of breathtaking, and is a wonderful chance to get up close and personal with the giant balloons. Saturday’s lineup at the Rosalie festival site includes entertainment of all kinds. On Vidalia’s riverfront, families will find the Ragin Cajun Gumbo Cookoff on Saturday and a number of family-friendly attractions.

Let’s do our part and attend the balloon race events and support vendors and area businesses.

We have a chance this year to make up for previous years and assure the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race gets to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2015. While you’re enjoying the balloon race, please stop by The Democrat’s photo booth and help celebrate the newspaper’s 150th year by appearing on the front page.