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Balloons gearing up for flight in Ascension Parish

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GONZALES - The Ascension Parish Hot Air Balloon Festival kicks off this weekend in Gonzales.

The Lamar Dixon Expo Center will soon turn into a balloon landing zone filled with carnival rides and much more. That gives national champion pilot Robert Ambeau the chance to brag about his home town.

"Being at home is second to no other place. I travel all over the United States. I've been to Oregon, Hershey, Pennsylvania, Naples, Florida, but when it's at home it's just a special feeling about it," said Ambeau. "I look around and I know everybody. They're all friends and neighbors."

You can expect around 30 hot air balloon, live music and plenty of food this weekend. Ambeau says there's no better feeling than soaring high above Ascension Parish.

"I can see the growth over the years. I've been doing this and flying for Coca-Cola for the past 25 years, and when I fly over Ascension Parish and Baton Rouge there's more housing, development and everything. We are growing in leaps and bounds," he said.

The fun is not just for the pilots though. You can hop aboard and enjoy a tethered balloon ride Friday and Saturday.

"You can walk around them. You can touch the balloons and talk to the pilot," said Ambeau. "Bring your kids and find out why other pilots come here and they'll tell you the story. They like the food, and they like the people."

Gates open Friday at 4 p.m. With admission $2 for adults and free for kids 12 and under. You can view the full Ballooning in Ascension schedule here.



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