Mississippi native wins 2023 Natchez Balloon Festival artwork contest

Published 6:02 pm Thursday, August 24, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Mississippi native Sabreya Carruth DeLancey is the winner of the 2023 Natchez Balloon Festival artwork contest.

Her artwork will be used on t-shirts, posters and other merchandising for the Oct. 20 and 21 festival.

Carter Burns, who is a member of the Natchez Balloon Festival committee, said the artwork contest had more than 150 entries this year.

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“We are glad everybody is so excited about the festival,” Burns said.

The entire Natchez Balloon Festival committee had a hand in choosing the winner.

“We looked through all of the submissions and decided what we liked best, then continued to narrow it down until we had a winner,” Burns said. “We really loved the colors on this one. They are colors we really haven’t done before on a poster and the whole style of the artwork is unique.”

While Balloon Festival merchandise has been ordered, it has yet to arrive.

“We will let everyone know when t-shirts and merchandise are here and can be purchased,” Burns said.

DeLancey was born and raised in Sumrall, where she served as Sumrall Main Street Association’s executive director until moving this summer. She and her husband of 17 years, John, now reside in Florida with their one-year-old Shih-Tzu, Gus-Gus.

“Our family on both sides is still in Mississippi. My husband and I are huge Disney fans. We have a timeshare here and were here a lot prior to moving. When we had an opportunity to move here earlier this summer, we took it,” DeLancey said. “We just love it here. We are living our dream!”

The Natchez Balloon Festival has been a part of DeLancey and her husband’s lives for many years, she said.

“I don’t know how many years we have been going to the balloon festival. My husband and I started going when we were still dating, so that’s been 20 years,” she said. “My family has always been around balloons.”

DeLancey created the artwork in memory of a family friend, Nancy Parker Mitchell, who passed away earlier this year.

“She had a big, bold, bright personality and the artwork reminds me of her,” she said.

Mitchell, a family friend, was always among the group who traveled to Natchez each year for the balloon festival.

Mitchell was the first female balloon pilot in Mississippi, DeLancey said.

DeLancey has been an artist for most of her life, beginning with painting lessons from her grandmother up through college, where she pursued a degree in computer animation.