Monday, September 09, 2013

2013 Great Reno Balloon Race

One of my favorite times of the year is when the Great Reno Balloon Race (GRBR) is in town. The GRBR is the largest free hot air ballooning event in the world and for three days, you can look up in the sky and see a rainbow of hot air balloons floating around.
Balloons can be seen along N. McCarran Boulevard near UNR campus.
A balloon floats over downtown Reno, near the Circus Circus.
This year, John was in town so we got to go together. On Saturday, we woke up before the crack of dawn to watch the Glow Show (and other highlights of the event) where the balloons light up in the dark to illuminate the fields like a beacon of light for spectators. If you don't want to struggle to find parking or walk among a mass of people kicking up dust from the trails of the Rancho San Rafael Park, it is necessary to get there by 4:30 a.m. Once you are on the field, you can stroll along Balloon Boulevard to find breakfast, coffee or shop for souvenirs.  Or you can get up close to the balloons, pilots and crew to watch 'em prepare for the flight.

After the Glow Show is the Dawn Patrol (seven balloons qualified to fly in the dark because the change in atmospheric conditions can be drastic as the sun begins to rise makes it dangerous to fly) the balloons twinkle and glow to choreographed music like fireflies in the night). It is also a time of the morning where it gets really cold; I'm amazed to see how many adults and children wearing t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops. I guess I haven't acclimated yet, LOL. So dress in layers to stay warm and then you can peel off as the sun rises and the day gets warmer.

Then there is the Mass Ascension Launch of nearly 100 balloons after the singing of the national anthem and T-6 formation fly over. This is the "race" part where the balloons play a game of Poker Run; they fly around and drop bean bags onto oversized cards. The closest bean bag to the center of the card wins it for their hand.

What a neat event to experience in person! These photos just don't do it justice but I hope you enjoy them.


JoeinVegas said...

When we lived in Temecula (southern California) they used to have something similar, with over a hundred balloons each year. Now that the area has grown they no longer do that, but it was pretty.
We usually didn't get up early enough, but would be woken up by the sound of the burners blasting as the balloons drifted past our balcony.

Daly said...

Oh I can imagine what a pretty view that must've been from the balcony!