The largest free admission hot air balloon event in the world is expected to take place in early September this year. The Great Reno Balloon Race is a hot air ballooning festival lasting from September 7th through the 9th in Reno, Nevada. The three-day festivities are a combination of ballooning events, competitions and family-friendly fun meant to inspire interest in hot air ballooning and boost tourism to the Reno/Tahoe, Nevada areas.
Since the festival’s inception in 1982, in which 20 balloons at most took to the skies, the festival has amassed considerable interest and now attendees watch more than 100 colorful hot air balloons rise into the air during the mass ascensions. At the time of the festival’s start, the hope was to provide something to entice visitors to stick around the area for the weekend in between the State Fair and Reno Air Races. Several decades later, the Great Reno Balloon Race is a fan favorite and local tradition, with an attendance that reaches into the hundreds of thousands annually.
This year the event is expected to be something spectacular. Spectators can expect some of the same happenings that one generally sees at hot air balloon festivals, live entertainment and music, vendors peddling goods and food, mass balloon ascensions, and something special for the little ones, like kids crafts and ballooning themed activities.
Highlights at This Year’s Event Include:
Fantastic Glow Shows
Friday starting at 5:15 am. And presented by United Federal Credit Union, attendees will be treated to the sight of 30 plus glowing hot air balloons as they dot the skies like fireflies while music plays in the background.
Both Saturday and Sunday starting at 5:00 am. A number of glowing hot air balloons will illuminate the sky and greet sleepy spectators.
Exciting and Engaging Dawn Patrols
Both Saturday and Sunday starting at 5:30 a.m. An annual must-see event, the dawn patrol ascension sees a number of night-flight rated hot air balloons rise into the darkened skies just as daylight is breaking. Considered unpredictable for the balloonists involved at best, the dawn patrol takes flight at that time of day in which weather conditions and atmospheric pressures are subject to change rapidly. Throughout the dawn patrol’s flight, skilled balloonists pilot their glowing, iridescent orbs in choreographed flight while transposed against a blue corn sky. The balloons twinkle and sway to the rhythm of soft music to the delight of the crowds gathered below.
Mass Ascension Balloon Launches
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting at 7:00 am. At least 100 hot air balloons will launch into the air from Rancho San Rafael Park. The vibrantly colored and uniquely shaped balloon envelopes add to the charm of the event, creating a spectacle you don’t want to miss.
Take a Walk on Balloon Boulevard
Featuring vendors and stalls where attendees can pick up official balloon race clothing and memorabilia as well as participate in crafts, snag souvenirs, and nosh on food and beverages. A stroll down balloon boulevard is encouraged as the vendors are an integral part of the event remaining free for all who wish to attend.
Fun for Everyone, Tethered Hot Air Balloon Rides
Following the mass ascension, people of all ages especially the young are encouraged to participate in tethered hot air balloon rides. The RE/MAX balloon facilitates the rides with the cost of a $5.00 donation to the “Children’s Miracle Network” those who are too young to experience an actual balloon flight or maybe slightly skittish about trying it for the first time can experience what it’s like inside a hot air balloon. Tethered flights are hot air balloon flights which see the balloon anchored securely to stationary objects and only rise to a low elevation.
As a result of the generous support of the Wilbur May Foundation, the Children’s Cabinet will offer tethered hot air balloon rides to disadvantaged children.
*These rides are not available to the general public.
Great Reno Balloon Race presents the Tissue Paper Balloon Launch
Friday at 9:30 am the Tissue Paper Balloon Launch will commence on the launch field. Two thousand students from Washoe County School District and surrounding areas will launch colorful handmade hot-air balloons created by the students themselves in their classroom. Made possible by a generous donation from the E.L. Cord Foundation, The Pennington Foundation, and the support of the Washoe County School District, the children will encounter the principles of lighter than air flight when they launch their tissue paper balloons via the assistance of volunteers and mini burners into the skies.
Detailed instructions for making your own tissue paper hot air balloon can be found here.
Important GRBR information
The Great Reno Balloon Race will commence on September 7th through the 9th at San Rafael Regional Park, Rancho Connector in Reno, Nevada. To learn more about tethered balloon rides at the festival reach out to Soaring Sports at 1-855-266-7627.
Agents are standing by to answer questions about the Great Reno Balloon Race scheduled activities. They can also book amazing opportunities for you participate in a variety of other hot air ballooning fun like shared rides for you and your friends or private flights with that special someone.
*Find the Great Reno Balloon Race parking info here
*The piloting registration for the 2018 event is full.
*Should you wish to attend as a pilot next year, visit here to learn more..
*If you would like to sponsor the GRBR or become a vendor, click here.