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2020 Red River Balloon Rally converted from festival to overflight


SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Red River Balloon Rally will go on as scheduled in June, but the annual event has been drastically scaled back and will feature a hot air balloon overflight for the public’s enjoyment at a safe distance.

“The fifth annual CenterPoint Energy Red River Balloon Rally, presented by the Louisiana Office of Tourism, has converted their popular summer festival event into a safe, picturesque overflight for the Shreveport-Bossier community to enjoy from the comfort of their homes or the seat of their cars, June 12-13,” according to a release from the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. “Weather permitting, the overflight edition of the Balloon Rally will consist of nearly 12 local and regional balloons sailing over various neighborhoods in the Shreveport-Bossier area.”

“I remember reintroducing the Balloon Rally five years ago, and the community was overjoyed with the balloons coloring the sky. Although COVID-19 hijacked many of our spring and summer plans, our team and sponsors thought it would be best to offer our community a cheery sense of ‘feel good,’” said Kelly Wells, executive director of Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. “This overflight will give us all an opportunity to look into the sky and see brighter days ahead as we plan for 2021.”

Here are the details on the event and changes made in light of the pandemic provided by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission:

Although the winds are the ultimate deciding factors of the final flight routes, the pilots will take-off from various locations with the intention to soar across downtown Shreveport and central Bossier City. The Balloon Rally overflight is projected to launch in three waves at these approximate times:

Friday, June 12 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 13 at 7 a.m.
Saturday, June 13 at 6 p.m.

In lieu of the annual Balloons over DeSoto event, spectators can potentially catch another wave of balloons in DeSoto Parish, which is a 45-minute drive south of Shreveport-Bossier. If weather permits, pilots will conduct an overflight at approximately 7 a.m. on Sunday, June 14.

“We are proud to continue our support of this great community event, and we’re confident that it will come back even bigger and better next year,” said Eric Barkley, district director of CenterPoint Energy. “In the meantime, we hope seeing the beautiful balloons flying over our area will bring some joy during these challenging times. It also gives us a chance to remind everyone to call 811 to have underground utility lines located before you dig.”

The COVID-19 pandemic created a significant disruption in the fifth annual CenterPoint Energy Red River Balloon Rally plans, but the following event sponsors continue to support the Shreveport-Bossier community with an overflight during these unconventional times: CenterPoint Energy, Louisiana Office of Tourism, Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission, KTAL 6, Alpha Media, O’Neal Gas, Coca-Cola, Glazers, Caddo Commissioner John E. Atkins, Heard McElroy and Vestall, and Red River Bank.

For more information and future updates on the overflight edition of the 2020 CenterPoint Energy Red River Balloon Rally, visit or follow their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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