Hot air balloons take flight for Alabama Jubilee with changes

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DECATUR, Ala. – The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic has been floating over our area for 43 years.

Hot air balloons took to the skies Sunday morning in Decatur. Despite COVID-19, the community got to enjoy the popular tradition.

The highest summer attraction in Decatur

Hot air balloon pilots gathered in Decatur for the first time in 1978. The annual jubilee is a tradition enjoyed by many generations of fans.

“My dream has always been to ride in a balloon more than once,” Alexi Chadwick said. “I’ve got in the basket, but I’ve never flown.”

It’s an event the 10-year-old gets to watch her grandmother run every year.

“I think it’s the third oldest ballooning event in the United States,” Alabama Jubilee President Ramona Evans said.

What a view!

The event sparks excitement for balloon lovers and summer lovers alike.

“It’s a lot of work,” Evans said. “You get to see the result right away because when you look into the faces of all the people out looking at the balloons…there’s just nothing like it.”

Because of COVID-19, organizers had to make major changes to this year’s event to keep within health and spacing guidelines.

That meant fewer balloons and no vendors. The festival’s annual car, tractor and arts and crafts shows didn’t happen this year. And Alexi won’t be flying.

Live it UP – literally

“It’s just sad because I know a lot of people like the jubilee,” Alexi said.

But come 2021, organizers said the sky will be covered in colorful hot air balloons for everyone to enjoy.

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