Balloon fest readies for liftoff

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Keep an eye on the skies this weekend for the Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship Festival.

The three-day festival lifts off Friday from the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

Forty balloonists will compete for the top prizes.

Also floating around will be three shaped balloons, including a 10-story tall bald eagle.

While organizers and pilots are excited about the event, they are also excited about the attention the festival will bring to Ascension Parish.

"The growth is unbelievable," said pilot Robert Ambeau. "It has a lot to offer right here between two major cities, Baton Rouge and NOLA. So, a lot of travel comes in between. So, when they go out of town and want to see more of the country side, they go to a place like Gonzales and find what activities, festivals are going on."

The balloon festival is free and open to the public.

Gates open at 3 p.m. on Friday.

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