UPDATE: Balloonists to meet at 4:30 to decide afternoon flight

Published 1:23 pm Friday, October 15, 2021

As gusty winds pick up Friday afternoon, a 3:30 meeting of hot air balloonists to decided on Friday afternoon flights has been pushed back an hour.

Pilots plan to meet up for a flight briefing at around 4:30 p.m. today.

Fog and low-lying clouds kept hot-air balloons close to the ground Friday morning during the first event of the 36th annual Natchez Balloon Festival.

Balloon pilots are scheduled to meet up at Magnolia Bluff’s Hotel for flight briefings Friday afternoon at 4:30, Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 a.m. and Saturday at 3:30 p.m., where they will determine where to fly or not fly depending on weather conditions.

Balloonist had hoped to take off from the new Azalea Gardens subdivision on US 61 South, across from the Roux 61 restaurant. While winds conditions were favorable for flying, a thick layer of fog and low-lying clouds kept the balloons grounded — but it didn’t keep balloonists and those who came to watch the spectacle from having fun.

At least 100 people followed hot air balloon pilots to their anticipated launch site, but instead of flying, balloon festival fans were given an up-close show complete with tethered rides, balloon cards and photo opportunities.