What better way to see the full glory of Natchez than from 300 feet above it?! The city makes a picturesque historic backdrop for balloonatics from all around the country during the annual hot-air balloon competition, which pits competitive balloonists against one another, and against the high bluffs and capricious breezes swirling above the Mississippi River. The Balloon Glow and fireworks show are always well-received, as is a lineup of bands that this year includes Buku Broux, Irma Thomas, Anders Osborne, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, and more. At day's end, the sight of up to sixty hot air balloons suspended above the Mississippi River, when viewed from the two-hundred-foot river bluffs, is one not soon forgotten. The Festival also hosts a Sports Tent showing all the weekend's big games on big-screen TVs, and Blufftoberfest—an Oktoberfest-style beer garden—to the equation. Children's activities, carnival rides, and a variety of regional foods are always around, so it's up, up, and away you go to Natchez this weekend. $35 weekend pass for adults, or $10 on Friday, $25 Saturday, $10 Sunday. $10 weekend pass for children ages seven to twelve, or $5 Friday, $5 Saturday, $5 Sunday. Children six and under are free. Balloon flights are at 7 am Friday, and 7:30 am Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting). The Festival kicks off at 6 pm Friday. 11 am start on Saturday; noon on Sunday on the grounds of Rosalie Mansion, 100 Orleans Street. bontempstix.com.