One of the biggest hot air balloon events in the southeast, the annual Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, is returning at the end of this month. On Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28, more than 60 colorful balloons will fill the Decatur sky at Point Mallard Park.

In addition to hot air balloons, the family-friendly festival will feature live music, a balloon glow, free tethered rides, motorcycles, antique cars and tractors, arts and crafts, fireworks and more fun for all ages. Admission and parking are free.

(Ian Dooley/Unsplash)

The Alabama Jubilee Hot-Air Balloon Classic began in 1978 and is one of the oldest hot-air balloon races in the southeast, earning the city of Decatur the “Ballooning Capital of Alabama” title. The festival has become a beloved Memorial Day holiday weekend tradition for many, attracting visitors from near and far.

The celebration will kick off Saturday morning with the Hare and Hound Balloon Race and run through late Sunday evening. Balloons take flight early in the morning, around 6 a.m., and in the evenings, around 5 p.m. The not-to-be-missed Hot Air Balloon Glow takes place around 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, lighting the night sky from above. The two-day event will come to a close Sunday evening with a dazzling fireworks spectacular.

Add this fun festival to your summer bucket list, if you haven’t done so already. Keep reading for more information and useful tips to make the most out of your weekend, as well as a full schedule of events.

Important Information

  • Balloons fly early in the morning and late afternoon. Mornings are at 6 a.m, afternoons are at 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Tethered rides are limited and require a signed waiver of liability. Children under 19 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Many pilots will not tether children three and under. The loud burner noise can damage their ears.
  • Paid flights are not sold during the Jubilee. If you would like to purchase a ride for another time there are many pilots that sell them; please visit The Heart of Dixie Balloon Club for more information.
  • Dress appropriately, wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated.
  • Smoking is not allowed on the launch field.
  • Dogs and other pets are discouraged since the loud noises and fire can frighten them. If you do bring them they must be leashed and bagged after.
  • The Alabama Jubilee is a ‘No Drone Zone’. Unless you have a waiver attached to ours from the FAA you may NOT operate a drone on our field during the Alabama Jubilee’s FAA waiver flight times. Even if you are a licensed drone pilot.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

6 – 8 a.m. Hound and Hare Balloon Flight

7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Decatur Art Guild – Arts & Crafts Show

7:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Bikers for Charity Motorcycle Show

8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Auto Expo and Auto Expo Awards

8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Southland Flywheelers’ Antique Tractor Show

10 – 10:20 a.m. Parade of Power

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pedal Tractor Park (ages 6 and under)

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Tractor Games

3:15 – 4:45 p.m. Live Entertainment (TBA)

5 – 7:15 p.m. Evening Flight and Tethers

6:30 – 10 p.m. Live Entertainment (TBA)

8:15 – 9:15 p.m. Hot Air Balloon Glow

Sunday, May 28, 2023

6-8:30 a.m. Lynn Layton Key Grab Race

7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Bikers for Charity Motorcycle Show

8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Decatur Art Guild – Arts & Crafts Show

5 – 7:15 p.m. Evening Flight and Tether

5:30 – 10 p.m. Live Entertainment (TBA)

9:30 p.m. Alabama Jubilee Fireworks Spectacular by Pyro Show