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Great Reno Balloon Race, Reno, Nevada | by Ken Lund
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Great Reno Balloon Race, Reno, Nevada

The Great Reno Balloon Race is a hot-air balloon race held each September in Reno, Nevada. The event is held at the Rancho San Rafael Park, just west of the University of Nevada, Reno. The event is free to the public, and completed its 30th year in 2011. Part of the mission statement of the race is to celebrate the joy of flight.


The Great Reno Balloon Race, the largest free hot air ballooning event in the country, is held the first weekend after Labor day each September at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno, Nevada. The GRBR draws in a crowd of 140,000 on average each year, making it the largest free event in Northern Nevada.


The first Balloon Race was in 1982, when a mere 20 balloons graced the crisp Nevadan sky. Today, upwards of 100 balloons participate each year. An event that was first started to create a tourist attraction between the Nevada State Fair and the Reno Air Races has become the icon of the community. Bringing people from all over together who share a love for family, community and ballooning, The Great Reno Balloon Race has become a beloved tradition which is embraced by locals and tourists alike.


One of the most spectacular shows over the three-day event is the Great Reno Balloon Race is Dawn Patrol. A term patented by the board of trustees when Federal Aviation officials approved predawn flying regulations in 1978. Safety precautions such as special navigation lights became the status quo and The Great Reno Balloon Race quickly became a national role model for pre-dawn events in 1990 when it began launching balloons before sunrise.

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Taken on September 12, 2015