DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – Hundreds of eyes gazed across the sky at Point Mallard Park Saturday morning, as hot-air balloons took off during the Annual Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic.
Abigail Stites, her husband and her baby boy arrived early to get the perfect seat.
“This is the first time in a lot of years that I’ve been able to see it [hot-air balloons] since we were in Florida,” explained Stites. “It’s his first time also; so I’m excited to see him get excited about it.”
This year’s jubilee brought on some unfavorable weather conditions – cancelling out the traditional “hound and hare” balloon race. But that didn’t stop pilots from reaching for the sky.
The Decatur Baptist Church hot-air balloon was the first to take flight with more than 30 colorful hot-air balloons following its path across the Tennessee River.
David Koenig has been flying hot-air balloons for 43 years. He says flying the giant balloons is strategic.
“Flying a balloon is kind of like three dimensional sailing,” said Koenig. “So, you have to find different winds speeds in different directions at different altitudes.”
For those who preferred to stay on the ground, the jubilee offers a variety of activities. Live bands, car and art shows, and dozens of vendors are just some of the activities members of the community can enjoy.
The two-day jubilee is free and open to the public. Blankets and chairs are highly recommended. The last day to attend the jubilee is Sunday, May 28. Festivities begin at 7 a.m. and will conclude with a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.