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Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Fest takes off this weekend

The Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Festival promises breathtaking spectacles and fun for all ages this weekend (Photo courtesy of Canton Tourism)

The 39th annual Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Festival is returning to Canton and Ridgeland from Thursday through Saturday.

A full weekend packed with racing and glowing balloons, patriotism, and fun activities for all ages will kick off at the Canton Courthouse Square on Thursday evening.

Following the balloon inflation and opening ceremony, a competition flight will take place at the Canton Multipurpose Center on Friday morning before floating over to Northpark in Ridgeland for the Celebrate America Balloon Glow in the evening.

As the sun sets, the array of hot air balloons will inflate and glow against the Mississippi night sky. Underneath the soaring balloons, live music, kids’ activities, and plenty of food vendors will entertain festivalgoers.

“The Celebrate America Ballon Glow event continues to be a yearly highlight for Northpark,” General Manager of Northpark Shawn Cochran said. “There’s nothing quite like seeing the community come together on a warm summer evening to watch glowing balloons and fireworks.”

After Thursday and Friday’s events, Saturday will be the biggest day of the festival. The Balloon Chase Bike Ride and Competition Flight will take off in the morning, followed by a jam-packed evening in Canton including another balloon glow, multiple charity events for the Good Samaritan Center, and the “Spectacular Fireworks Extravaganza” to end the weekend with a bang.

The Saturday charity events for the Good Samaritan Center include a balloon chase walk/run and a kid’s fun run, along with a helicopter golf ball drop where participants will have a chance to win $5,000.

Here’s the full schedule of events for the weekend:

Thursday, June 27

  • 6:30 p.m. – Balloon inflation and opening ceremony at Canton Courthouse Square in Canton

Friday, June 28

  • 6 a.m. – Competition Flight at the Canton Multipurpose Center
  • 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Celebrate America Ballon Glow at Northpark in Ridgeland

Saturday, June 29

  • 7 a.m. –  Balloon Chase Bike Ride & Competition Flight at the Canton Multipurpose Center
  • 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Mississippi’s Championship Hot Air Balloon Festival featuring live music by Travelin’ Jane Band on the Main Stage in Canton
  • 6:30 p.m. – Balloon Chase Run/Walk & Kids 1/4 Mile Fun Run (immediately after the adult run)
  • 8:00 p.m. – Good Samaritan’s Golf Ball Drop Fundraiser
  • 8:00 p.m. – Balloon Glow
  • 9:00 p.m. – Spectacular Fireworks Extravaganza

All of the festival’s events are free and open to the public. More information can be found here.

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