City experiments with "Balloons & Boom"

Leslie D. Rose @DvilleNewsie

When learning that Crescent Park renovations wouldn't be finished in time for the City of Donaldsonville to host its annual July 3rd on the River, city leaders were left one choice - cancel the event.

Fortunately, with the help of the Donaldsonville Downtown Development District (DDD) and the city's Chamber of Commerce, a temporary celebration - Balloons & Boom - will be put into play.

To be held over the Fourth of July weekend, Balloons & Boom will take place July 1 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and July 2 from 1p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Fairgrounds. The two day event will feature hot air balloons (Friday evening), the Triple M Bridal Fashion Show, live entertainment, the Donaldsonville Chamber of Commerce Children's Village, Damsel in Defense self-defense demonstrations, food and beverages and fireworks.

While the event is a temporary fix to celebrate Independence Day, DDD director, Lee Melancon, said he hopes that some of the amenities of Balloons and Boom will become a part of the July 3rd on the River event, to be held as scheduled in 2017.

The extended time frame of the celebration is a test to see if people will attend a longer festival. If all goes well, the annual Third of July event will be extended to include some of the amenities from Balloons & Boom. Melancon also noted an extended festival gives organizers flexibility in scheduling.

"One of the challenges of doing an event called July 3rd on the River, is that you never really know what day July 3 is going to fall," Melancon said. "We are hoping that if [Balloons & Boom] works, and the community enjoys it, we will do an extra day or an extra half day.

We are trying to bring in some extra activities to the festival, trying to grow the event from just food, music and fireworks. We would like to add other things that the community can come out to enjoy."

One item from this year that Melancon is sure will be adding to the 2017 celebration is the balloons.

"We're hoping that we can bring back the balloons next year - this year we will have two, for what is called a hot air balloon glow - we hope we can bring more next year, and maybe do a fly-over," he said.

Major event sponsors include CF Industries, the Ascension Parish Tourism Commission, Entergy, and event host - the City of Donaldsonville. Parking and admission is free. No ice chests, food or beverage may be brought on site. For individuals visiting Donaldsonville, Inn on the River, 416 Mississippi St., has been selected as the host hotel for the event.

Event Schedule

Friday July 1(6 p.m. to 11 p.m.)

6:30 p.m. Triple M Bridal Fashion Show

8 p.m. Hot Air Balloon Glow

8 p.m. King PaKa Yae Band

Saturday July 2 (1 p.m. to 11 p.m.)

3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Damsel in Defense (self-defense demo)

4:30 p.m. Cafe Au Lait Band

8 p.m. The American Kids Band

9 p.m. Fireworks

For more information, (225) 445-1383