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Until Next Year, Balloon Races

hot air balloon

by Lisa Brown

As the The Great Reno Balloon Races of 2018 come to a close, we pause and reflect on what makes this Reno event unique. This year marked the 37th annual GRBR festival, and it proved to be a spectacular year for the festivities. The weather was pristine for ballooning, blue skies, low winds, and moderate early morning temperatures. Over the four days, the morning skies were magically bedecked with cloud formations, which proved to be the perfect back drop for the colorful balloons. This year, audiences were exhilarated by the experience and left with a grateful, warm feeling about the Biggest Little City in the world. As UNR student, Grace Brown, put it, “there is something so whimsical about the balloon race. It’s not often that we can witness a little magic in our day to day lives, but the balloon race weekend gives the residents of Reno and Sparks the chance to do so.”

The GRBR is the largest FREE balloon festival worldwide; and in a world where finding free family, friendly activities is a rarity, the Reno Balloon Races stands apart from other such events worldwide. This uniqueness has been built into the GRBR through its mission:

“The mission of The Great Reno Balloon Race is to provide a premier, safe, family-oriented/tourist-attractive, visually dramatic event that celebrates the joy of flight while remaining free to the public.”

The mission stayed true in 2018, and we can rest assured that it will do so in the future thanks to those with the foresight to create a such a statement.

This year’s festival was one of the biggest Reno has seen yet with close to a hundred balloons taking to the skies. It didn’t matter whether you were lucky enough to view the balloons as they filled the morning skies over Rancho San Rafael Park, you gazed at the balloons from your car as you drove through the Spaghetti Bowl on your way to work, or you looked down upon them atop your bike saddle at the top of Caughlin Ranch Parkway Road in the brisk morning air, spectators everywhere were intrigued by the balloons and their daring pilots and aeronauts. The Great Reno Balloon Races is a wonderful experience that displays just how Reno is an extraordinary “Little” city of the West.

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