The Great Reno Balloon Race celebrates 40 years in northern Nevada
RENO, Nev. – The Great Reno Balloon Race (GRBR) prepares to captivate its many spectators during its 40th anniversary event this Sept. 10 through Sept. 12 at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno, Nev. This internationally recognized event and beloved local tradition remains the world’s largest free hot-air ballooning festival and provides free admission to the public from sponsorship support.
“There is something about waking up early, bundling up in blankets, and staring up at these magnificent and colorful balloons,” said Executive Director of GRBR Pete Copeland. “Every single year, much like the spectators, I am drawn in by the pure magic of the event. We are very grateful that we can celebrate our 40th anniversary with an event this year, and we can’t wait to welcome our pilots and fans back for this annual tradition.”
Before the sun peeks over the mountains, spectators will see the daily iconic Glow Show illuminating the park with a soft warm light – a signal that the event has begun. During the Show, the early morning sky will be decorated by the choreographed glow of up to 10 hot-air balloons. On Friday, Sept. 10, we will have a special Super Glow Show where upwards of 40 balloons will take over the performance.
It’s not until dawn that eight hot-air balloons lift off the ground to perform Dawn Patrol. Only a few pilots in the world can perform this skilled show, and it is a must-see for all attendees. This year, Dawn Patrol will be held all three days of the event. During the daily Mass Ascension, the remaining balloons will rise and fill the park with an array of colors and shapes while the sun rises.
New this year, Sands Regency and The Great Reno Balloon Race is hosting a special experience each day of the event for first responders. This includes a VIP Tent with ample viewing and a complimentary meal. First responders just need to show ID for entry.
Remembrance and Awareness
On Saturday, Sept. 11, the event will hold a remembrance ceremony in honor of 9/11, also that day attendees should wear their best pink for breast cancer awareness to “Paint the Park Pink.”
Then, on Sunday, Sept. 12, attendees are encouraged to wear blue in honor of Donor Awareness Day.
Spectators will see a variety of special-shaped balloons, including new-to-the-event special shapes: Allycorn, a pink unicorn; Kermie, a frog; Humpty Dumpty; Rocket Raccoon; Keystone Willy, a cop; and Con-Air, a robber. Returning special shapes include: Billy the Kid, a cowboy; Smokey Bear.
As the balloons dazzle and spectators capture photos, they can share their best photos through a photo contest in partnership with Reno Tahoe. Attendees can tag #RenoBalloon21 on Instagram for a chance to win prizes.