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Hot Air Jubilee Returns To Jackson

Hot air balloons photo
David Bostedor III
Jackson Hot Air Jubilee
The Jackson Hot Air Jubilee runs through this weekend at Ella Sharp Park.

After being canceled by the pandemic last year, the Jackson Hot Air Jubilee is back this weekend. 

28 pilots from Michigan and at least three other states have brought their hot air balloons to Jackson for the festival with flights scheduled through Sunday.

Jubilee Board Member Angela Madden said along with the traditional balloon shapes, there are some festival goers might be surprised by, like a seal-shaped balloon named Cynthia.

“One of the things that I really enjoy about Cynthia," she explained, "is if you look really closely at her when she’s in the air, her eyes, the pupils of her eyes, are actually in the shape of hot air balloons.”

Madden expects as many as 5,000 people to attend the Jubilee throughout the weekend.

She added part of the fun is a competition where pilots try to hit a target from the sky.

“A scoring team will go to that location, put a very large X on the ground, and, in their baskets, the pilots carry a four-ounce baggie with a six-foot-long tail, and they throw that baggie towards that target, the goal being to get as close to the center as they can," she said.

Evening balloon flights will take off from Ella Sharp Park. The sites for morning departures are determined day to day with details announced on social media.

Weather conditions could also impact when and where balloon flights take place.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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