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Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic to be held on Memorial Day weekend

DECATUR— Last Friday, on May 19, the media was invited to a preview event for the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic that will be held on the Saturday and Sunday of this Memorial Day weekend.

The event served as an opportunity for training new crew members of some of the hot air balloons that will be flying over the weekend along with allowing the media to conduct interviews and take pictures. Three balloons were inflated at a field in Point Mallard Park as crew members learned how to unfold balloons, hook up fuel, inflate the balloons using fans, and turn baskets upright (see the photo gallery from that demonstration above).

The 2023 Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic will be held at Point Mallard on May 27-28. Admission and parking (both in Point Mallard Park lots and marked remote lots) are free, with shuttles from remote lots offered for a small fee. Tethered balloon rides for guests along with live entertainment, fireworks, the nighttime balloon glow, arts and crafts fair, and classic car show will all be going on throughout the weekend.

The Hot Air Balloon Classic will host 60 hot air balloons this year, drawling pilots from around eight states, the farthest traveling from New Mexico. There will also be four special shaped balloons: an armadillo cowboy, a flying saucer, a dog dressed as a fireman, and a bird.

The balloons will fly twice per day (weather permitting), once in the morning at 6 a.m. and once in the evening around 6-7:30 pm. Free, tethered balloon rides in the evening will be available for guests; this is on a first-come, first-served basis. Lines can be long for this event, so make sure to come early to get your place in the queue for a ride. These rides are at the discretion of the pilots. Minors under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and children under three are not typically allowed to ride as the loud fuel bursts can damage their hearing. Please be advised that balloon baskets have capacity and weight limits, and large groups will be split up.

Anyone is invited to join the crew of a hot air balloon and can receive on the job training for on-ground balloon preparation for flight. Please contact Mike Wahl, this year’s Balloonmeister, at 256-303-9618 or visit the balloon launch site for more information.

For full rules and information on balloon rides and where to see balloons, please see: https://www.alabamajubilee.net/index.php/visitors.

Highlights of the event’s happenings on Friday include a classic car show, an antique tracker show put on by Southland Flywheelers, live entertainment, and the nighttime hot air balloon glow. Sunday’s highlights are a karaoke content, more live entertainment, and the Alabama Jubilee fireworks display. Any arts and crafts show put on by the Decatur Art Guild along with lots of food and vendors will be available both days. For full schedule, please visit www.alabamajubilee.net/index.php/schedule.

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