Balloon Festival, Natchez, Mississippi

It’s been three years (October 2013) since our trip to Natchez, Mississippi with Father Scott for the balloon festival. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend going at least once. Besides the prospect of seeing so many balloons floating majestically overhead, it is also the excitement of actually seeing the balloons fly. What I mean by this, is the weather conditions have to be perfect for ballooning or they will not take them up.

That was what our weekend was like – full of anxious waiting! Friday night did not favor ballooning and that was disappointing. This was followed by watching all the trucks pulling trailers with balloons and gear across the Mississippi River and along the levee to a field – should I mention here that the field was NOT visible from the Natchez side of the river – and waiting and waiting and waiting, only to be disappointed that the weather, that had once been conducive to flying had changed its mind.

Sunday morning is the last day of the three-day festival and we were hoping to see balloons that morning. So, me (who is NOT a morning person) and everyone else at the Bed and Breakfast rose at the crack of dawn and headed back to the waterfront. The balloons were not being launched there, but this is normally the best viewing spot.

Our long wait on Sunday was finally rewarded when we spotted a couple of far off balloons. Then, nothing. Then, more balloons! We soon found out what “chasing the balloons” meant and we were off. The romanticism that I had envisioned – standing on the banks of the beautiful river watching a mass of balloons float by was not our reality! We ended up parked in a K-Mart parking lot. Could anything be further from my vision? I think NOT!

The balloons were a beautiful sight and really worth the disappointment and wait. There is so much more to take in when visiting Natchez. The historic downtown area features walking tours marked off on the sidewalks in different colors. We had experienced this type of walking tour in Boston and I was excited to have the chance to do this type of tour again.

Natchez is a beautiful little town and what held so much fascination for me is my family history is deeply ensconced in the Catholic church located in Natchez. Upon our arrival into Natchez, we stopped at the Welcome Center where I was able to read about Bishop William Henry Elder (1857-1880) and his church, St. Mary’s Cathedral. I have to admit I felt a great sense of pride that my family was involved in establishing the church. I think I remember reading that he was a little difficult to work with. Oh well! No one is perfect.

We had the opportunity to visit the beautiful church the next day and of course, I took loads of pictures and I’m about to bore you with them. The church is located on a street corner and is absolutely beautiful inside. The stain glass windows are brilliant and the woodwork is extraordinary.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you ever have the opportunity to visit Natchez, please do. It’s beautiful and Southern and quaint.