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Balloon fest starts Friday

NATCHEZ — While out and about in the crisp fall air this weekend, be sure to look up because you might just see a hot air balloon.

Some 40-plus hot air balloon pilots have signed on to fly during the 35th annual Natchez Balloon Festival, which kicks off Friday and lasts through Sunday.

Balloon flights are scheduled take place as weather allows each morning at approximately 7:30 a.m. and each afternoon at approximately 4 p.m.

While the traditional concert and carnival rides at Fort Rosalie will not take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still several activities scheduled to take place this weekend that festival patrons can enjoy from a safe social distance.

Balloon glow is scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m. at various locations and fireworks on the Mississippi River Friday at 8 p.m. as weather permits.

No tickets will be required this year as balloons will be scattered across various locations where festivalgoers can either walk or drive to see them.

Balloon glow locations include Bluff Park, on Broadway between Bontura Alley and State Street, the parking lot on Commerce Street behind the City Council Chambers, the Natchez Mall, Monmouth, Magnolia Bluffs Casino, Magnolia Bluffs Hotel, Natchez Under-the-Hill, Pedro’s, Natchez High School, the Vidalia Riverfront and Concordia Bank on U.S. 61 North.

Organizers encourage all attendees to follow CDC, state, and local guidelines concerning COVID-19 throughout the weekend by observing social distancing, wearing masks, and staying home if you feel unwell or exhibit any symptoms such as fever.

Balloon festival logo T-shirts and posters and other merchandise are available for purchase at the Historic Natchez Foundation, located at 108 South Commerce Street.

Curbside orders and pickup can be requested by calling 601-442-2500.

The Historic Natchez Foundation is open on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.