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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – Fun and balloons are in the air this weekend at Point Mallard Park. It’s the culmination of 45 years of dedication to a hobby that’s put Decatur on the map.

“We love what we do. We love what it brings to Decatur and the joy on the kids’ faces,” Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic Committee Vice President Ramona Evans told News 19. “Not just kids, but kids of all ages. It makes it worth it.”

It’s the oldest hot air balloon festival in the state, one of the oldest in the southeast, and certainly one of the top attractions for Morgan County.

In addition to checking out dozens of food vendors to inflate your stomach this weekend, Evans said the Jubilee gives the community a chance to see both hot air balloon races and slow colorful displays of dozens of balloons from across the country.

Visitors can also give back with blood donations to LifeSouth, and a raffle in memory of a treasured event volunteer.

“Lee Johnson was a member of the committee for over 40 years. He was here almost from the beginning,” Evans explained. “Lee passed away last year, and we are – in his honor – having a fundraiser for Hands Across Decatur. The winner of the raffle wins a new refrigerator.”

Evans believes even with the struggles of expensive travel costs this year and the pandemic in years prior, the event’s uniqueness is enough to keep going strong.

“When all of the focus was on ‘be masked, keep your distance’, everything, we needed something that said, ‘this is who we are,’ and that we’re proud of our city and we want to make sure that everyone gets to have a good time.”

Parking for the Jubilee is free, and festivities last until after dark both Saturday and Sunday, with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. to conclude the second night.