A few years ago I had the opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon over Texarkana. Man, what a ride! There's just something surreal about floating through the air with just the sound of the wind surrounding you and of course the occasional blast of hot air gas needed to keep the balloon afloat. Well, get ready because the first-ever Red River Balloon Rally featuring the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship is coming to Shreveport-Bossier July 14-20, 2016.

The balloon rally will be held at the LSUS campus and other various sites around the Shreveport-Bossier area with several events planned for the whole family. In addition, there will be tethered balloon rides available to the general public for $20, a balloon glow, kids' zone, food, crafts and country concerts from Thompson Square and Southern Roots on July 16. Christian artists Rend Collective and Phil Wickham perform July 15. This will mark the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Nationals competition and huge crowds are expected for this event so plan on getting there early.

A huge fireworks show is expected prior to the Thompson Square concert and there will also be a Red River Balloon Rally 5K on the LSUS campus festival grounds. Kids will love seeing the Tweety Bird and Sylvester balloons during this event. The Red River Balloon Rally is expected to bring in at least 50 pilots who will compete for $10,000 in the U.S. world championships. This event is scheduled to run for the next three years and organizers are hoping that it is a huge success so they can extend it for years to come.

For schedule of events, tickets and more information head to their website or Facebook page.