Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ridgeland Balloon Glow Friday

Ridgeland Recreation & Parks and Northpark Mall present “Celebrate America” Balloon Glow featuring Neal McCoy and Jason Fratesi & the Dirt Road Jam Band

Ridgeland Recreation & Parks and Northpark Mall, in conjunction with the Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Fest, present the “Celebrate America” Balloon Glow on Friday, June 29, 2012.

Ridgeland’s Independence Day celebration is a tradition for families throughout Ridgeland and surrounding areas. Thousands gather near Northpark Mall for the hot air balloon glow, food and games, local entertainment, star performance by a nationally known country music recording artist, and a spectacular fireworks display.

The annual karaoke contest will be held at Center Court inside Northpark Mall on Tuesday and Wednesday evening (6:30-9:00 p.m.), June 26 and 27. The top five finalists from each night will advance to the finals on Thursday night, June 28, at 6:30 p.m. The registration fee is $25. Singers can pre-register by calling Angela at 601-566-0951 or e-mailing at The winner will open the show for Neal McCoy and Jason Fratesi & the Dirt Road Jam Band at the “Celebrate America” Balloon Glow on Friday, June 29.

The fun kicks off at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 29 with the karaoke contest winner and opening act Jason Fratesi & the Dirt Road Jam Band. DRJB plays a wide mix of country, southern rock and blues. The band specializes in stripped down acoustic sets accompanied by mandolin and spoons. The typical DRJB experience starts soft and ends hard as they rock out to numerous southern rock favorites like "Green River," "Hard To Handle" and fun songs like "Voodoo Child," "Wagon Wheel" and "What's Up." The Dirt Road Jam Band’s performance will be followed by the beautiful sight of hot air balloons glowing at dusk.

As the sun sets, fans will be treated to a performance by country singer Neal McCoy. In a world where every single is the biggest hit, every song the best one ever, Neal McCoy has had his share of feel good radio records, a few meaningful ballads, the BMI Song of the Year with “Wink” and “The Shake” and a whole lot of fun. But he’s spent almost two decades chasing ‘that song.’

With “A-OK,” the song that co-producer Blake Shelton found the Longview, Texan entertainer, McCoy’s quest may be over. With its bouncing beat, bright melody and yes, pure Andy Griffith whistle, the song about seeing the glass as half-full and the smile upside down in a frown, along with the Barry Dean/Luke Laird/Brett Eldridge mid-tempo, is the perfect distillation of McCoy’s always effervescent show.

“I think any song that says ‘It’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna be alright…’ and feels like this one does, has got to be a winner. People really wanna hear, and almost need to hear, that right now…Times being the way they are, and something that makes people feel good? Well, anyone who knows me knows I’m all about that,” McCoy explains.

Ask anyone about Neal McCoy, and they may not be able to name all of the songs, but they’ll go on and on about his live concerts: full-tilt celebrations of music, life, laughter, joy and yes, his five #1s. But don’t make it about Neal McCoy, he sure wouldn’t.

Neal has done 15 USO tours, represented President Bush at the inauguration of Philipine President Arroyo, established the East Texas Angel Network 17 years ago for children with life threatening illnesses, helping over 400 families along the way, and co-written the good natured “Lucky Enough,” an all street corner bravado shuffle and bright-eyed look at life, dreams and love.

McCoy has sold over 6 million albums. His entrance into the country music world was championed by Hall of Famer Charley Pride, and his return is being orchestrated by CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee and reigning Male Vocalist of the Year Blake Shelton, and CMA/ACM Album, Single and Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert.

People like that know music – and performing. Those who came before and those who’re now setting the standard both recognize how special McCoy’s kind of country is.

The evening concludes with one of the largest fireworks displays in the state. Food favorites such as funnel cakes and barbecue are available throughout the event, along with children’s activities such as a moon jump and slides. The Simon Kidgits Karnival area will be available across the street from the stage with inflatable obstacle courses, moon bounces, face painting, lemonade and lots of fun activities for children. Free for Kidgits Club members. For more information check Northpark Mall's Facebook page at Northpark Mall MS or the website at

“Celebrate America” Balloon Glow starts at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 29. Admission is free. Activities will be held on the Balloon Glow field between Northpark Mall and Pear Orchard Road. Spectators should park in the Northpark Mall parking lot. For more information, check our Facebook page at Ridgeland Recreation & Parks or contact the Ridgeland Recreation and Parks Department at 601-853-2011.

The Rez News

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