The Great Reno Balloon Race

Here are a few photos from the Great Reno Balloon Race held about a month ago. I had started this post then, but my computer malfunctioned. But, it’s never to late to show some cool photos. I had so many to sort through. I hope you enjoy them.

The Great Reno Balloon Race starts early if you want to catch the Glow Show and the Dawn Patrol. I think it’s worth it, but it did require my family to rise well before the crack of dawn at approximately 4:30 am. Yes, that part was painful. It was actually a miracle that were able to do it. Even more of a miracle that I didn’t have a cup of coffee until about 6:30 am. Oh, but it was worth it.

DAWN PATROL

Balloons twinkled like stars, choreographed to music. It was quite a spectacle and the crowd was awestruck (and probably half asleep).

Yes, it’s very dark! There are seven balloons in “Dawn Patrol.”
These balloons are qualified to fly in the dark. Atmospheric conditions will change as the sun rises.
The sun is on its way.

MASS ASCENSION

The moment we had all been waiting for had arrived. Once they are swelling with hot air, it doesn’t take long for the balloons to begin their ascent.  There were 87 balloons that participated with at least twelve of them in special shapes, including a Pepsi Can, Darth Vader, Tweety Bird, Shark, and a Wells Fargo Wagon. All balloons were sponsored this year. I understand it’s quite costly to own on of these balloons, estimated at least $50,000, and this does include the cost of racing them. I envisioned them all lifting off at once. But it didn’t quite happen like that. They mostly lifted in spurts in small groupings.

When Darth Vader ascended, they played the Star Wars theme.

THE RACE BEGINS

It is a race, although you’d never know it. They seemed to float rather aimlessly. The balloons attempt to hit some mysterious “X” post in the sky. I never saw them anywhere. Participants throw bean bags (or something) at a target with their insignia to prove, indeed, they were there.

Not all balloons finish the race. This one landed in the parking lot.

Here’s a nice view of Reno on our walk back to our car. Shark and Tweety Bird never made it off the ground. Poor Tweety never even filled up.

The kids probably had the most fun playing with their cousins and running through the open fields.

Of course, spotting a snake on our walk back was pretty hard to beat, too.

I’m sure one day my kids will ask me, “Remember that time we saw the balloons?” Yes, I remember. It was a beautiful day. If you ever get a chance to go to a balloon race, I highly recommend it.

174 thoughts on “The Great Reno Balloon Race

    1. Thanks, Carrie! I think it was worth it for sure. Next time I will have hot coffee with me. It’s not often my family experiences a sunrise together, so that was fun. The snake looked big to me, but I was told was harmless. Luckily, the snake was half asleep, too.

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  1. That looks like a wonderful excursion, save the Am rise. And your kids’ll say, “Remember the time we got up early, played with our cousins , saw a snake, and wasn’t there some balloons in the sky?”

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    1. Thanks, Shalagh. Right. Every now and then, they’ll surprise me. I’ll think something I dragged them to didn’t seem like a big deal to them. And, it could be years later, and they’ll talk about it, mention it, and I’ll think, wow, they did get something out of it and it did make an impression.

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  2. noticed you on refridgemagnate’s page….the name..bumble files….attracted…
    and so glad i stopped by….beautiful pictures…especially the ones with the balloons in the sky…..love em…:)

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    1. Thanks, Sonny. I’m so glad you stopped by! I had so many pictures to choose from. I hoped I picked the best ones. I, too, like the ones in the sky. It’s like magic watching them all in the sky together. It was beautiful to behold.

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  3. Love your work here, B.F! We gave a balloon even near us, too… I never seem to make it over there, though (your photos have me kicking myself twice as hard for that)! I don’t think I’ve ever seen hot air balloons glow like that before, either! And speaking of glow, talk about some stunning light in your last few shots as well! Now THAT is atmosphere!
    🙂

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    1. SIG, I hope you can make the next hot air balloon event in your town. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Plus, you could take some marvelous pictures. What shots are you referring to? Do you mean the ones with the kids? I love those shots. I guess I got lucky with the light. Hey, I got lucky! Thanks, SIG!

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      1. Oh, yes! I’m sorry… I wasn’t very clear about that. Yes, the ones with the kids… the light is SO nice! II think it adds such a warm, nostalgic feel to the images… which suits them perfectly!
        Hahaha… no you didn’t, B.F!
        You ‘got’ talent is what you ‘got’.
        🙂

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      2. Aww, shucks. I pretend to have talent. You’re the real thing, SIG. 🙂 I have to say, I love the lighting too. It makes me want to wake up super early and take pictures.

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  4. Beautiful photos! We live around the corner from the airport where they have the NJ Festival of Ballooning every summer. We’ve lived here for 15 years and still get excited on balloon weekend. It’s just such a sight to see them all in the air at once.

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    1. Thanks, Paprika. They are beautiful to see all floating together like that. I’m glad you get a chance to experience it in NJ. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I felt like a kid all jumping and excited. beautiful pictures. I missed the Ballunar Festival this year in Houston but now I felt like I didn’t at all watching your pictures of the event in Reno. MY favorite? Darth Vader of course!!!

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    1. Thank you, Island Traveler. It was beautiful and peaceful to watch. Darth Vader was one of my favorites, too. I hope you can catch the Ballunar Festival next time. I am surprised how many balloon festivals there are. May the Force be with you!

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  6. Nice photos. Well written. Love the snake… I use to live here and watched these races every year. They are a spectacle and worth a place on peoples’ bucket lists

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    1. Thank you so much, Greg. Indeed, I think this is worth a spot on the bucket list. I can check this one off! The balloons never disappoint. It’s hard not to take good photos because the subject is so pretty, and the weather and light was gorgeous. And, the snake luckily was still half asleep and hardly moving.

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    1. Thank you! It’s exciting. I’m glad you enjoy the photos. It was a beautiful day to take pictures, and the morning light was quite nice. Thanks for stopping by.

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    1. Right. I know, who’s ahead? No one looks like they’re winning for crying out loud, and they don’t look like they’re trying too hard. They just look peaceful. But, evidently, things can go wrong as some didn’t finish and ended up in the hills. Thanks for visiting.

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  7. This looks absolutely incredible! I have always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride, but I think it would also terrify me completely.

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    1. Thank you! I, too, would like to ride in a hot air balloon, so long as I’m not responsible for operating it. It looks fun, doesn’t it? I bet the view would be amazing. I hope you can do it someday.

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  8. I haven’t been to the races in years but what fun to see our local dawn patrol on freshly pressed! Hello neighbor!

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    1. Well, hi there. I was wondering if anyone from Reno would see this! It is quite a spectacular display. The last time I went to see this a couple years back I missed the Dawn Patrol. So, this year I made sure we wouldn’t miss it. It’s worth the early morning rise.

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      1. It definitely is! I am actually in Carson so it’s quite early to be there in time for dawn patrol, which only means I have only seen dawn patrol once but have been to the races a few times.

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      2. That would be an early morning for you. I’m glad we managed it and the kids got to see it. It’s not everyday you see glowing balloons!

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  9. we lived in reno for 11 years. when my daughter was 4 we wanted to get up and see dawn patrol…when she saw that the sun wasn’t up yet, she looked out the window with confusion on her face and stated thru squinted eyes…”but Momma, God isn’t even up yet!” it was something we will always cherish

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    1. That’s very sweet! Getting up together as a family was a huge challenge for us, but we were determined. It’s rare for us to take in a sunrise together, so it was extra special. The weather changed so much, too. It went from comfortable to cold (when the sun came out). It was fun family experience.

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  10. Really great photos! I live in a small town in NW Washington state, where we had our first hot air balloon festival earlier this year. Only about 8 balloons, but loved taking photos of them over fields and mountains for my blog as well. (one even landed in my yard!) Hopefully, we will work up to a race and get to see as many you did. Thanks for sharing the awesome color!

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    1. Thank you and thank for stopping by! I’m glad you enjoyed them! I don’t live in Reno currently, but I did once and sometimes these balloons would land on our street. It’s quite shocking because they’re so massive. They’re gorgeous to watch.

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  11. Pingback: Angell
    1. Thank you, Eagle-Eyed Editor. If you get the chance to see one of these, you should definitely do it. Thanks for your nice comments.

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    1. Hi Lunatic!! Good to see you here. Thank you! How cool that you see the same balloons. I imagine there’s some kind of circuit for these races. Thanks for stopping by.

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    1. Thanks, Justalittlebrit! I think the glowing ones are my favorite, too. It’s not something you see everyday. I hope you get a chance to see it someday! The balloons do not disappoint.

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    1. Thank you so much! You’re so kind. I’m so happy you enjoyed them. It is a great event. The balloons are beautiful to behold all floating in the sky together.

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    1. SIG, Thanks!! You’re so sweet! Stoked works for me 🙂 Yes, it’s very exciting. I’ve been in a happy mood all day!

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    1. Thank you, Mei! I was lucky it was such a great day to see the event and take photos. I hope you can see a race someday.

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    1. Thank you so much! I hope you can achieve your dream and see a balloon race in person. It is a pretty cool thing to experience.

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  12. Watching the balloons fill before sun up is much like riding a bike down the volcano on Maui. Get up at 2:30 a.m., take a van ride to the top, watch the sunrise, then coast down the hill on a bike.
    Getting up was a pain, freezing to death while waiting for the sun to rise was a pain, but the cruise down was pure joy.
    Thanks for sharing. Your pictures are great, and your narrative appreciated.
    What kind of snake was that?

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    1. Thank you, Grumpa Joe. Wow, that does sound like an adventure, especially the early morning rise at 2:30! I thought ours was early. Except for the cold and the early morning, it sounds fun! The snake was a bull snake, I’m told. I think it’s supposed to be harmless. Hope so! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  13. Congrats on being FP! There was supposed to be a balloon race in Mesquite NV in March or April of this year so I got up about 4 am and drove approximately 2 hours for the early morning start. What a disappointment. They couldn’t take off due to bad weather. So some of them did inflate but only rose about 10 feet high tethered to the ground. Still it’s something to see and I’d easily do it again.

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    1. Hi Paul. Thanks you! Too bad you didn’t you didn’t get to see the balloon race in Mesquite. They are so pretty to watch. I could be mistaken, but I don’t think the balloons raced on the second day in Reno because of the wind. I guess the weather is pretty critical. I hope you can see one in the future. Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Wonderful post! and love those balloons lighted the early morning. Seeing different shapes are so cool. This reminds me of the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta held in Clark Airfield, Philippines every February. Congrats! on being Freshly Pressed.

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    1. Thank you so much! The glowing ones are my favorite. Cool, you got to see one of these in the Philippines. I appreciate you stopping by.

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