Natchez Balloon Festival was Natchez at its best

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Organizers could not have ordered better weather than what we got on Saturday for the Natchez Balloon Festival. The good Lord, indeed, answers prayers.

The only white in the sky was a three-quarters moon that hung high in the western sky over the Mississippi River.

The only other breaks in the beautiful blue backdrop were the colorful balloons that flew through much of the day Saturday.

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The bluff was hopping with people. Broadway Street was packed with pedestrians, motorcyclists and motorists of all types, including people driving classic cars and modern three-wheeled cars.

Canal Street was as busy as I’ve ever seen it in the nearly two years I have lived in Natchez.

Customers walked back and forth from business to business, pushing baby strollers, carrying bags of merchandise and many of them were carrying folding chairs to sit in during the music shows.

The festival grounds around Rosalie were beautiful with tethered balloons taking visitors up for flights throughout the day and night Saturday, back dropped by carnival rides along the bluff.

Food vendors were good, the beer and cocktail lines moved quickly and plenty of porta Johns were on hand to accommodate the crowds.

Organizers even had the foresight to set up a sports watching tent with tables surrounded by LED televisions tuned to the day’s and night’s football games.

The musical line up was excellent all weekend but particularly Saturday with Mr. Sipp, Cowboy Mouth and the headliners, hometown favorites Bishop Gunn.

It was clear a large portion of the visitors, not only the locals but also many fans from all over, this year were here to see Bishop Gunn.

Bishop Gunn has had a stellar year opening for the Rolling Stones in Houston a few months back, Guns-n-Roses a few weeks ago and touring Europe with Slash of Guns-n-Roses earlier this year as well.

No doubt the band has honed its skills and picked up many fans along the way.

Bishop Gunn Lead Singer Travis McCreedy asked the crowd early in the band’s set Saturday night how many people were from Natchez and got a respectable amount of applauds.

Then he asked how many people had traveled a long distance to be there and got nearly twice the amount of applauds.

Then McCreedy asked the Natchez crowd to be kind to the visitors, which it appeared people were happy to do.

Bishop Gunn put on a great show and even introduced some new unreleased songs that were impressive.

Bishop Gunn proved they deserve the newfound fame they’ve earned.

All in all, the rebranded Natchez Balloon Festival seemed to be a great success and brought plenty of visitors to town to see Natchez and all it has to offer at its best.

To the organizers and volunteers, thank you, for putting on such a great event.

Job well done.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or