Hours spent organizing and planning and a lot of dedication have gone into creating the 33rdannual Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Race and Festival hosted by Canton Tourism! To gear up for what’s sure to be a patriotic and festive weekend, we spoke with Jana Dear, the coordinator of it all.
After communicating with pilots from across the country for so many months, she’s thrilled to see the festival finally come to fruition. Jana has played an integral part in continuing this thirty-three-year-old tradition of an amazing show of balloons from all around the world that light up the night, drawing in families from all across the Jackson metro area to the town of Canton.
When asked what her favorite part of the festival is, Jana says, “I love it all, but the launch party is when you really see it all fall into place. The pilots travel from all over the country, so it’s like a big reunion and we all finally get to meet in person and celebrate our work coming together. It’s a fun time.”
Jana is also looking forward to this year’s special balloon: a hundred-foot tall penguin named Tall Steve that came all the way from England. “There’s a different special balloon every year that I research and find,” explains Jana. “This year’s is great, and we’re very happy he (finally) made it through customs.”
Seeing glowing balloons hovering majestically in the sky doesn’t even begin to cover the fun Canton has in store for this festival! There will also be live music, food, and, of course, a firework extravaganza. Saturday’s events will kick off at 6 p.m. with a fireworks show at 9 p.m. There will also be a movie under the stars at 9:30 p.m., and Jana is quite pleased with the film selection, which is a perfect pair for Tall Steve: Happy Feet! Visit the Canton Tourism Facebook page to see a full schedule of all of the events starting Thursday, June 28.