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Porch & Parish

Zachary Really Hot Air Balloon Festival Recap

Aug 14, 2023 03:47PM ● By Staff Writer

Approximately 5,000 festival goers were in attendance for the Zachary Really Hot Air Balloon Festival held on Saturday night at BREC's Zachary Community Park. This event was put together by the Downtown Live at the Gazebo and sponsored by local businesses.

The title sponsor for the event was Hughes Mechanical. Balloon sponsors included Bright Beginnings Daycare, Cecil Graves - State Farm Agent, City of Zachary, Cypress Air, and Thornton & Musso. These "Balloon Sponsors" took a flight over Zachary early Saturday morning, landing all over Zachary, including the Zachary Football Field and local neighborhoods. Flight conditions were pristine.  Post flight, all the sponsors gathered back at the BREC Park for a champagne toast and after flight prayer.

Balloon pilots came from all over the Southeast area. Overall , there were a total of 6 balloons and crew, one including Zachary's own crew, “Really Hot Air Balloon Team”, Chad Hebert and his wife Shawnel. Chad is also an Police Officer with Zachary Police Department.

The event included:

Art & Retail Vendors – 50 in attendance, including visitors traveling from all over the state with woodworking, bath products, sweet treats, jewelry, tumblers, jellies and honey, and glow sticks and other light up novelties for kids.

Food Vendors 15

Attractions –  Mechanical Bull, Photo Booth, Face Painting, BREC Games for Kids Zone

Adult Beverage Tent – Sneaux Season

VIP Tent – South Plains Food Company

Commemorative T Shirt Tent

DJ – Variety of fun music, announcing sponsorship during arrival and shopping entertainment from 4pm -6:30 p.m.

Eddie Smith Band – Kicked off at 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Balloon Tether Rides 126 children and adults – 6:45 – 8:00 p.m.

Balloon Glow and Night Show 8 p.m.


A Special Engagement -

A very exciting addition to the festival was the engagement of a local couple, Ashley Lopez and Cole Thibodeaux, in front of the balloons.


"I work offshore on-call and it was kind of hard to plan the proposal until Ashley mentioned the Balloon Festival. It just clicked that the Festival would be a great place to do it and luckily I came home the day before.  I was originally going to propose on the hot air balloon, but the basket was too small so I had to improvise. Ashley and I have been together since May 11, 2022. We just clicked on the first date and have never left each others side. We have always helped each other no matter the problem. She’s showed me that there’s a lot more to life than just work and go home. She helped me out of a bad spot in my life and I just knew she was the one for me and she knew that I was the one for her."

-Cole Thibodeaux



"Zachary Really Hot Air Balloon Festival Committee worked tirelessly the past year, planning and organizing the inaugural event and were overwhelmed with the response of Zachary residents and residents of the surrounding area," said Ashleigh McHugh, City of Zachary's Director of Economic Development/Community Engagement.

"We would like to extend a special thank you to BREC for allowing the event to be held at the beautiful, pristine park grounds of the BREC Zachary Community Park and their partnership in making this event such a huge success."

The Balloon Festival Committee wants your feedback! Zachary Hot Air Balloon Festival Look Back (