GALLERY: Great morning for flying!

Published 10:51 am Friday, October 14, 2022

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VIDALIA, La. — The opening morning of the 37th annual Natchez Balloon Festival was a little unpredictable, but hot air balloons still flew.

Bill Cunningham decided to cancel the competition flight, where pilots would try to drop a bean bag onto a target, and let them fly or not fly from the location of their choice. Two or three pilots decided to chance a Mississippi River hop and took off from the Natchez Mall. Dozens of others headed across the river to the Concordia Recreation sports complex in Vidalia. At least two more headed on to the levee road beside Old River and flew over town back toward the Vidalia airport. So far, the forecast this weekend looks sunny with a great chance of seeing balloons in the sky.

The festival gates open at 4 p.m., which is also the scheduled time of this afternoon’s balloon flight if the wind cooperates. A balloon glow at the festival site, on the grounds of Rosalie, is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. followed by fireworks on the Mississippi River at 7:45 p.m.

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The Molly Ringwalds are scheduled to play at 8 p.m.

If weather permits, more balloon flights are scheduled at approximately 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Check out the full event schedule and purchase tickets at