The hot air balloon festival ends in style

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – After a night plagued by bad weather, Hattiesburg stayed dry long enough to have rides tied up to complete the hot air balloon festival on Saturday night.

The festivities started at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning and everyone had only one idea in mind: hot air balloon rides.

“I can’t wait to do that hot air balloon ride,” said Geraldine Liddell, who attended the festival with her grandchildren. “It’s on my to-do list and it’s something I want to do, so I’ll be back at six.”

Even with the weather again on the radar, people flocked to the Forrest County multi-purpose center for the art and vendor exhibits, as well as the balloons.

“It was just beyond our expectations for turnout,” said RISE volunteer Linda Donnell. “It was wonderful and we were able to have fun together.

“We were able to tell a lot of people about our ministry and let them know who we are, what we are about and hope people will remember that we all want to rise together.”

Queues piled up to enter the gates and cars were blocked until US 49 tried to enter the festival.

With that kind of turnout, RISE is thrilled with the pull they’ve established this weekend.

“I think in 10 years this will be one of the biggest hot air balloon festivals in the country,” said Madyson Warren, public relations intern at RISE. “It will put RISE on the map.”

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