Sunday, October 16, 2011
The Great Mississippi Balloon Race 2011
This was my second time attending the Great Mississippi Balloon Race in Natchez, Mississippi. Last year was a bust. We sat by the river for 4 hours waiting to catch a glimpse of one of the colorful hot air balloons to no avail. These things are big and Natchez is pretty small... where could they have gone?? Someone said that they had blown the opposite direction. The day wasn't a total wash we ate at the Pig Out Inn and had some fabulous ribs. This year we decided to change our schedule and go to the 7am race event. The wind was blowing and it looked good for a chance to get some pictures. We went by and got coffee and arrived by the river at 645am. People were gathered by the rail and in the parking lot in their cars. I got out and spoke to a few locals who assured me that the balloons would be coming. They didn't have a clue what they were talking about. I noticed a few 'bikers' on some really great looking Harley's and went up and asked them if they knew anything. They had just heard on the radio that the balloons were going to going to the Mall and "drop the ring" over a target in the back. Off we went...along with those that I told what was up. It really was wonderful. We got there in plenty of time and before you could see them you could hear the short burst from the propane burners as the pilots adjusted their height. They appeared over the trees in vivid colors that stood out against the pale blue sky. They had to attempt to drop two flags in a area that apparently had points associated with how close they were to the center pole. They could coast along the ground but not touch or they would be disqualified. The final test was dropping a ring over the center pole. Only one man did it. I had a great time. Stan and I were cheering and clapping with everyone else. I got some wonderful pictures given that I still am learning how to work my camera. Will I do this again. Absolutely. BUT this time I will read the program to figure out where they are going to be. Oh... we ate at the Pig Out again. YUM. Not as good as wedding and birthday cake but close.