READY FOR TAKEOFF: Natchez Balloon Festival is next weekend

Published 3:20 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

NATCHEZ — Natchez is now one weekend away from the Natchez Balloon Festival, scheduled to take place Friday, Oct. 15, through Sunday, Oct. 17.

Merchandise, including this year’s winning T-shirt and balloon poster design by artist Debora Novarini, is on sale now at the Historic Natchez Foundation, located at 108 S Commerce St. Small posters are $20 each and large posters are $30 each.

As visitors, or locals, arrive in town Thursday evening, there will be an opportunity for them to enjoy live music before the festival officially begins at the “Live at 5” concert from the Natchez bluff bandstand on Broadway Street, featuring Natchez “NRhythm.”

As the name implies, the concert is live at 5 p.m. and will feature the Natchez-born, fusion-influenced “NRhythm Band.”

Festival gates open at 4 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Rosalie.

YZ Ealey is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. and The Fabulous Thunderbirds at 9 p.m. Friday.

Saturday’s line-up includes the Matt Willis Trio at 2:30 p.m., Jamell Richardson at 4 p.m., J & The Causeways at 5:30 p.m., Tank and the Bangas at 7:30 p.m. and headlining artist Christone “Kingfish” Ingram at 9 p.m.

Festival admission starts at $15 or Friday day pass, $25 for a Saturday day pass and $30 for a weekend pass and children age 10 and under attend free.

With the purchase of VIP tickets, attendees may also gain access to the VIP sponsor tent overlooking the Mississippi River with a private cash bar, tables and chairs, air-conditioned restrooms and view of the front stage. A Saturday only VIP pass is $125 and a Weekend VIP pass is $250.

There is no festival site on Sunday, however, balloons will lift off from the north end of the bluff on Sunday afternoon if weather permits.

Balloon flights are scheduled each morning and afternoon the weekend of the festival and balloon glows are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at approximately 6:45 p.m. on the festival ground at Rosalie as weather allows.

Those who stay updated on balloon flights and locations can sign up for text message alerts at platform.trumpia.com/onlineSignup/natchezdemocrat/balloonalerts.

On the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the festival, alerts will be sent out from the balloon pilot briefing directly to your phone describing where, when and if the Natchez skies will be filled with hot-air balloons.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit natchezballoonfestival.com.