Decatur Balloon Festival 2021: Alabama’s Jubilee is on

More than fifty hot air balloons will light up this year at the Alabama Jubilee.

DECATUR, Ala. – The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic is underway in Decatur!

Each year, hundreds of families travel to Point Mallard to see the balloons and enjoy the music and food. After putting the event on hiatus last year due to the pandemic, pilots are ready to fly their balloons again, weather permitting.

What happens at the Alabama Jubilee on Memorial Day weekend?

Event organizers spent Friday setting up the stage, tents and food stalls, but the real action will take place on Saturday and Sunday when the pilots start inflating the hot air balloons.

Event organizers say there will be more than fifty hot air balloons this year and the community can expect to see some unique ones.

Ken Garner, Jubilee Balloon Pilot from Alabama, said: “I heard a big moose was coming to see us. I was talking to one of the guys who had inflated the moose in his front yard, and he said oh my God. He said this thing is almost three times bigger than your typical balloon because of the woods.”

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Alabama’s jubilee began more than forty years ago after pilots introduced the city to hot air balloons. Garner has been a balloon pilot with the Alabama Jubilee since 1986. Of all his years, he expects this year to be his biggest.

“This year, because of everything that’s happened in the last year, I’m looking for the biggest crowds we’ve ever had,” Garner said.

The pilots had planned to set up and inflate the hot air balloons on Saturday at 6:00 a.m., but weather forced the cancellation.

Throughout the day, pilots will offer captive balloon rides weather permitting. Then, at sunset, the balloons will all light up.

“The glow is probably the most dramatic thing we do if it’s done right and right after dark,” Garner said. “If you can imagine a sixty-foot-tall balloon lit up like a Christmas tree decoration. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

What activities are there at Alabama Jubilee on Memorial Day weekend?

While the balloons draw crowds, there’s so much more to the event.

Garner said, “We have an arts and crafts show. We have a tractor show. We have a vintage car show. We have the middle.”

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There is no charge to enter or park at the event.

Alabama’s Jubilee will end on Sunday with a spectacular fireworks display at 9:45 p.m.

For more information and event times, click here.

WATCH: Balloons light up at Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic