Inaugural balloon festival brings “glow” to Lake Charles sky

Jude Yousser said she can jump just as high as the hot air balloons that gave tethered rides this weekend at the inaugural Southwest Louisiana Balloon Festival at Chennault International Airport.

The 5-year-old — who’s quick to point out she’ll be 6 in September — jumped as high as she could while watching the hot air balloons slowly rise across the runway from the Scooby Doo-themed bounce house she was inside.

“My friend named London jumped with me, I don’t know where she is now, and we jumped on the dog one and the one with the stripes,” she said. “I can jump really high, sort-of.”

Yousser said her favorite part of the festival was the fireworks display.

“I really liked that and I wasn’t scared,” she said. “I didn’t get to do many rides because the line was always so big, but I did do three jumpees and I got to ride on the train.”

Claire Sylvest of Sulphur said her favorite part was the balloon glow.

“I’ve seen pictures and I thought it was cool that it was coming to Lake Charles and I wanted to support it so we can get more stuff here,” she said.

Sylvest said it was just as she imagined.

During the glow, the hot air balloons inflate and light themselves from within.

“I thought it was really neat,” she said. “I didn’t really know how it worked with all of them lit up at once but it was beautiful.”

A red and white balloon covered in flags was her favorite.

“They were all pretty colorful,” she said. “There was also a purple and pink one that I liked. I’d have to say the balloon glow was the best part.”

American Press