46th annual Alabama Jubilee Hot Balloon Classic in full-swing in Decatur

Alabama Jubilee prepares to lift off during Memorial Day weekend
Alabama Jubilee prepares to lift off during Memorial Day weekend
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 10:46 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Thousands of families from here at home and across the South spent time this Memorial Day weekend at Point Mallard for the annual Alabama Jubilee.

“What is one thing you all want to get out of this weekend here?” WAFF asked one attendee. “I really wanna ride a balloon,” they responded.

It’s a common sentiment for people who have come to Decatur for the Alabama Jubilee. There’s entertainment, food, live music and of course, the balloons.

Pilots for the hot air balloons will allow visitors to take flight in one of their rides going in the air for three minutes. WAFF spoke with a pilot who tell me the highs and lows of people who are there to see new heights.

“I’ve had people, we’ve gotten off the ground and have gotten scared. And I have them just sit on the floor. And they sit on the floor and you can see through the wicker,” said balloon pilot Denis Sutter. “And as the flight goes on, they want to see more and they’re up on their knees and are looking over the edge, and usually by the time they’re landing, they’re standing up and enjoying the the flight.”

Sam Arbes and Shelby Bristow drove up from Mobile to be a part of the festival. Both wanted to be catch a ride on a balloon, although Sam needed a little convincing. One thing they did appreciate was how accessible it is for them to be there.

“In Foley Alabama they have a festival to and I have gone once before. It was like a lot and what is really cool about this place is that it’s a free event,” Bristow said. “ I was really excited to hear that like ‘Hey, we don’t have to fork over this much money for a ticket in or a ticket to ride.”

The jubilee continues Sunday at Point Mallard. Entry is free, but be sure bring some cash for balloon rides and food.

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