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Natchez Balloon Festival, a welcome respite

While the 35th annual Natchez Balloon Festival is going to be a pared down version of its former self this year, it is drawing excitement and visitors to our community nonetheless.

That’s good news.

While COVID-19 has forced a bunch of changes on the festival, organizers have made certain we will still have lots to enjoy, but in a responsible, socially distanced way.

On Friday morning, weather willing, the first flight will take off at approximately 7:30 a.m. Balloons are scheduled to take off for an afternoon flight Friday at about 4 p.m. Balloons will follow that same flight schedule if weather conditions allow on Saturday and for a final Sunday morning flight.

Friday night will feature fireworks beginning at about 8 p.m. over the Mississippi River.

The annual — and always impressive — balloon glow will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:30 to 8 p.m.  The exact locations of the balloon glows are yet to be determined, but some are expected to take place on the bluff along the Natchez riverfront, as well as at other locations in the Miss-Lou in an effort to spread people out and not have too many gathered in one location.

This year’s balloon festival will be another example of the resiliency of our community. So many Natchez businesses have proven their ingenuity during this unusual and challenging year. We have been amazed at the determination and creativity that small business owners and their staffers have deployed to continue to serve customers and our community.

We are certain this year’s balloon festival will prove to be a success and something beautiful and exciting to distract us from the challenges we are all continuing to work to overcome.