August 6, 2020

Weather looks favorable as hot-air balloonists flock to Mississippi festival (and you’re invited)

The Natchez Balloon Festival kicks off tonight and the weather should be mostly clear with lows in the mid 50s and highs between 69 and 89 Friday night through Saturday night.

Sunday has a slight 30% chance of rain.

That said, the forecast is pretty promising for the Natchez Balloon Festival that kicks off at 5 p.m. today and last through Sunday.

Mimi Miller, director emeritus of Historic Natchez Foundation, which organizes the event, said she is keeping a close eye on the weather forecasts.

Last year, rain was forecast throughout the weekend and hurt attendance, Miller said, even though the rain never happened.

“All of the weather sites are looking good for no rain, and I’m checking them constantly.”

Balloons have already taken to the air on Wednesday and Thursday, as the weather and wind conditions were good.

Low wind speeds are important for balloon flights and top wind speeds projected for Friday through Saturday are approximately 5 mph, according to the National Weather Service, and between 5 and 10 mph on Sunday.

Miller said she is hoping for a good turnout this year and plenty of parking is available at the Natchez Visitor Center on Canal Street and the old Isle of Capri parking lot that can accommodate 450 cars on Silver Street just west of Canal Street and shuttles will be making regular runs to take visitors from that parking lot to the gates.

Tickets are available online at eventbrite.com or are available at the Historic Natchez Foundation, 108 S. Commerce St., Natchez, and the Natchez Visitor Center, 640 S. Canal St., Natchez. Also available at those sites are T-shirts and posters.

Tickets prices: Weekend Pass: $30 advance or $40 at the gate; Friday: $15 advance or $20 at the gate; Saturday: $20 advance or $25 at the gate; Sunday: $5.

Children age 12 and under are admitted free.