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Bluff is big enough for all

The bluff is big enough for everyone.

On Tuesday, the Natchez Board of Aldermen approved a measure that granted Natchez Balloon Festival officials the license to use the bluff park along Broadway Street for the annual festival.

In years past, the city has approved the same measure with little fanfare, primarily because balloon festival officials elected to keep most of its activities within the festival grounds at the Bicentennial Gardens next to the historic house Rosalie. Balloon officials reserved the right to use the bluff but never did except for balloon take-offs and landings.

This year, however, is different. In this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, most balloon festival events will be free and spread along the bluff to minimize crowds and observe social distancing guidelines. With 40 balloons, organizers hope to host two balloon glows, fireworks and tethered rides, weather permitting.

This year two other events are also being planned for the bluff during balloon race weekend — a “Four Elements Celebration” outside the Natchez Grand Hotel and part of the “Top Shot” competition, which will involve a running and archery competition at the north end of the bluff. After the measure was approved by the board Tuesday, alderwoman Valencia Hall stressed that the action gives control of the bluff to the balloon festival. Thankfully balloon race officials say they are willing to work with other event organizers to ensure all events happen as planned.

We are happy to hear this because Natchez needs each and every event that attracts tourism dollars to our town.

Organizers of the “Four Elements Celebration” have already said they are coordinating with the balloon festival. We hope the balloon festival and “Top Shot” organizers will do the same.

We look forward to a weekend that inclusive of all the events that have been planned.

After all, the bluff is big enough for them all.

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