October 20 - 22 , 2017
Click on a question below:
HOT AIR BALLOONS
Will I see hot air balloons throughout the day?
Pilots are scheduled to launch balloons only twice daily; early morning & late afternoon. Balloon glows and balloon flights are weather dependent. Pilots have a weather briefing prior to scheduled ballooning activity, where they will decide if it is safe weather for flight. Individual pilots may opt out, if safety concerns and unfavorable weather conditions exist. It's a hot air balloon festival & we make every best effort to showcase our gentle giants for festival guests!
Cooler weather is ideal for balloon flights since the hot air gets a better "lift." Balloonists usually fly just after dawn or before dusk, because there is less wind at these times.
Where do we watch the balloons?
Balloons will be glowing on the festival grounds for viewing on Friday night, we ask you please be courteous to hot air balloons and do not step on or over any. Balloons launch from different sites throughout Natchez according to wind direction and strength. The goal of the balloon pilots is to have the best view of hot air balloons be on the festival grounds.
Where are the balloons taking off?
Hot air balloon pilots choose a safe location to take off from according to the direction of the wind. You can sign up for text message notifications to find out if the pilots are going to lift off, what time the balloons will fly and where they will take off from. Visit NatchezDemocrat.com during the week of the Balloon Race to sign up for texts!
Do I get to ride in a hot air balloon?
Tethered balloon rides are offered to the public Saturday at the Balloon Race, weather permitting. However, full balloon flights are not offered to the public. Some hot air balloon sponsors of the balloon race are offered rides by their pilots. Contact us to find out about sponsoring future festivals!
May I bring my dog or pet?
No. Dogs and pets will not permitted to enter the venue. Service dogs with uniform & credentials are the exception.
May I bring a cooler with food & drinks?
Coolers will not be permitted beyond the gates. No outside food or drinks can be brought into the festival.
Where do we park?
There is street parking throughout downtown Natchez if you are ok with walking a few blocks. The Natchez Visitor's Center on Canal Street will also provide parking for guests at no charge. A shuttle will travel between the Visitor's Center parking lot and the festival grounds throughout the day. See Parking >> and Map to Festival >>
Do you offer shuttles from hotels?
No. You will need to contact your individual hotel to see if they are offering a shuttle to the festival grounds. There are downtown hotels that are well within walking distance to the festival. Shuttles will travel from the parking lot at the Visitor's Center to the festival grounds, and make a loop through downtown.
What are typical weather conditions, and what do I wear?
Typical weather for Natchez during October ranges from 50-80 degrees F. Bring a jacket for the morning and evening, but prepare for t-shirt and shorts weather during the mid-day. Also remember to wear comfortable walking shoes. Sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended!
Are there places to eat at the festival?
Yes. There are food vendors serving a variety of foods. Local restaurants offer fare, as well as carnival food and drinks. Beer and liquor are also available for purchase on the festival grounds.
Are backpacks or large bags allowed at the festival?
Yes, but they are subject to inspection upon entering the Park. All strollers, wagons, purses and backpacks are subject to search upon entry to the grounds.
Are Lawn Chairs allowed at the festival?
Yes. Many also bring a blanket to protect their belongings from the grass and dirt, and to have a bigger place to stretch out.
Are Tents or Chair Umbrellas allowed at the festival?
No. Chairs and blankets only, please.
Is there seating available at Balloon Race?
No, the grounds of Rosalie where the festival is held does not have any tables or chairs available.
I have a gun permit, can I carry it on festival grounds?
No. No firearms or weapons are permitted on the grounds of Rosalie.
Where can I purchase Balloon Race souvenirs and merchandise?
Shirts, posters and logo and printed items can be purchased at the official merchandise tent inside the grounds Friday p.m. through Sunday of the festival. Leading up to the event, you can buy items at the Natchez Visitor's Center as well as the Natchez Historic Foundation on 108 S. Commerce Street.
Can I get my tickets at the gate?
Yes. There are no penalties or extra charges for purchasing your tickets at the gate on the day of the festival.
Where can we stay?
See NatchezMS.com or VisitNatchez.org or www.natchezmsbandb.com find information about hotels and bed and breakfasts. However, hotels and bed and breakfasts fill up fast; Nearby towns will also have availability in hotels, and are a short drive away from Natchez! Check for more availability in Vidalia LA, St. Francisville LA, Brookhaven MS, McComb MS, or Vicksburg MS.
Are Drones allowed?
No. Only pre-approved drones are permitted on the grounds of the festival and at balloon take-off zones.
PLEASE! No pets, ice chests, tents, food or drink from outside the gates, weapons, or illegal substances. Security will check bags, backpacks, strollers and wagons at all entrances for your safety. These items are not permitted and this rule will be enforced at all entries to the festival ground, no exceptions. Thank you!