DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – A weekend with a sky full of balloons and hot air. The 37th Annual Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Festival begins at Decatur’s Point Mallard Park Saturday morning. Almost 60 of the huge balloons are expected to take to the skies over Morgan County.
Organizers have two full days of activities planned for this year’s Alabama Jubilee, but the balloons are always the main attraction. Several of the pilots volunteered to take photographers aloft friday morning, and I would never miss the chance to go.
Al Whitaker: “Mike, how long you been flying, buddy?”
Mike Wahl, pilot and Balloonmeister: “I’ve been a pilot since 1985, that’s 28 years.”
“What’s the attraction?”
“Exactly what we’re doing now. You feel, just floating across the countryside enjoying ourselves, getting with friends and having a good time.”
We took off from Priceville and drifted across Morgan County toward Somerville. Other than the sound of the burner, it was calm, peaceful, and you really didn’t even have the sensation of moving.
The balloon events get started at 6:30 A.M. Saturday morning.
“Saturday morning we’ll fly from Point Mallard. Saturday afternoon we’ll have a glow and tether with two special shaped balloons there. One’s the Purple People Eater and the other looks like a skunk! Then we’ll glow that evening and the next morning we’ll fly into Point Mallard,” Wahl explains.
The balloon glow on Saturday evening is always a popular event. At dusk, the balloons are inflated and when the burners are lit, the balloons glow like huge, colorful lightbulbs. Bring your lawn chairs.
Admission to the events is always free. For a schedule of Alabama Jubilee events and activities this weekend, click HERE.