37th annual Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic kicks off in Decatur

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT)- One of north Alabama’s most beloved events kicked off bright and early Saturday morning, and gave way to a day full of free, family fun.

The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic kicked off its two day celebration early Saturday, with a balloon race. There were family activities throughout the day, including an antique car show, arts and crafts show, and live music.

Commercial Pilot Tim Billingsly has been to hot air balloon festivals all over the country, but says nothing compares to this one.

“This is the best one, the people here are really friendly, they like the balloons, they welcome us, and we just have a really good time,” says Billingsly.

The Jubilee brought near record crowds, including some out-of-towners who make it a priority to come every year. Bari Kerr and her group came from South Georgia for the event.

“We enjoy it so much, that we kept inviting our friends, and they invite friends and family too, and we’ve been coming back every time for 10 years,” says Kerr.

The evening hot air balloon competition was canceled due to unsafe wind conditions, however, by sunset the balloons were up and ready to go.

Pilot Mike Wahl says safety is the utmost importance for pilots and spectators. “Our problem is, since you are a hot air balloon, and you go wherever the wind goes, no matter what you want to do, that’s what you’re going to do, your only choice is launching and landing.”

The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic will continue beginning at 6:30 Sunday morning, and will end with a fireworks show at 9:30 in the evening. The event is free and open to the public.

 

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