Sunday, September 9, 2012

Balloon Races!

Every year, I see the hot air balloons floating over Peavine, and think, "I should go watch them some year." So this year, I hopped out of bed at 4:56am, and dashed out the house to meet my friend Lara at 5:30am by San Rafael Park.

I was AMAZED at the crowd of people stomping up the hill toward the park - in PITCH dark! Kids, grandmas, moms and dads, strollers, blankets, name it, people were carrying it.

Lara and I had on headlamps, so we could run the trails behind the park up Peavine and watch the balloons rise for Dawn Patrol. The view was incredible, and all the Patrol balloons raced northwards as soon as they were released. We should have realized that was a bad omen, as later the Mass Ascension could not take place, as the wind was too strong.

Instead, most of the balloons simply inflated and then remained tethered in the park. It was still amazing to watch the teams lay out the balloons, fill them with air, then hoist them vertically up above the basket. We couldn't believe the heat coming off the burners as the captains blasted the flames into the silk balloons. 

Here are some of the photos of how they get the balloons going.
I will definitely go back next year, as it was really much more fun to be in the park than to be watching the balloons from far away. 


  1. Hi Mrs Harvey,
    What an exciting event to have nearby. How many balloons take part in the races? I took a hot air balloon ride once and I can say it is one of the most special experiences I have had. I would highly recommend it. I don't know if I would enjoy a race though because I enjoyed the serenity of the ride.
    My class is taking part in the Student Blogging Challenge. Many of them have blogs of their own or with a partner but some will be using our class blog to participate. Our class blog is here:
    Happy blogging!
    from Ms Norton

    1. Thanks Ms Norton! It was very exciting to hear from someone in Australia. The balloon races are amazing, but let me tell you:the word "race" is kind of an oxymoron! They barely move...just float up into the air above a beautiful park near the edge of the city. From there they are supposed to try to drop a sandbag onto a target, and other things like that. This year was the first time I ever saw them really move - due to the wind!
      Sometimes it is really fun because on the first day of the races, which is a Friday, some balloons will purposely land in school playgrounds and fields, so we can all go out and examine the balloon and learn about how they fly or watch them roll and bag the silk. This year we didn't get a balloon, but I did some research and found out there are over 100 balloons! The races started in 1982 with only 20 the event has grown to the biggest free race in the USA. I guess they must have to pay in the New Mexico race, which I think is even bigger.
      This week the Reno Air Races start. Now we will see all sorts of old planes flying over, along with the Navy, Army, and Air Force fighter jets. Sadly, last year a pilot lost control of his plane, killing himself, 9 or so others, and injuring 70 people in the stands. This year they are ramping up safety and security, but I always hold my breath until those air races are over!
      We will all visit your blog, and I was entertained by the dislike of brussel sprouts!
      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Mrs.Harvey that was so cool I watched the vedio i wish I went it looked so fun

  3. The video was interesring, The balloons was really good-looking!

  4. Mrs.harvey that must be so cool because of the darth vader

  5. Mrs.Harvey did you see anybody in our class.Was it fun Mrs.Harvey.Were the hot air balloons really noisey

    1. No, Julio, I didn't see anyone from our class, but I did bump into about 4 friends, which was fun. Even though the balloons did not release, just float above us, it was really noisy! The sound was all made by the flame thrower when they blasted into the silk balloon to heat the air up.
      I will definitely go again next year, and I am suggesting this as a family field trip.

  6. I love the video that you made.Have you ever been on an air balloon?

    1. Thanks Iris. No, I haven't ever been up in one, but my older son has when he was in preschool! They took a walk up the road from his preschool (which was very near UNR and San Rafael Park) and one of the balloons was there for little kids to get in. They didn't lift off the tether, but they did rise up quite a way. I have a feeling he was probably too short at about 3 years old to see out of the basket...
      Maybe some day I will try a ride, but I worry that I might be scared of the incredible height!