Since its humble beginnings in 1982, the Great Reno Balloon Race has grown dramatically in size from just 20 hot-air balloons to a world-renowned event featuring close to 100 hot-air balloons lifting off from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno.

The GRBR is nothing short of tradition. On the ground, spectators—some clad in pajamas—sit atop blankets or folding chairs gripping hot beverages and gazing into the early morning sky for the ethereal Glow Show that takes place before the sun even peeks above the horizon.

Following that early morning spectacle, some hot-air balloons launch for Dawn Patrol just as the first hint of light can be seen to the east. The rest of the balloons rise later at Mass Ascension after sunrise.

A select group begins the competition portion of the race, while tens of thousands of visitors look on in awe, patronize vendors and take tethered rides in the balloons that aren’t gunning for the win.

Each morning, pilots are briefed about wind speeds and directions at various “ceilings” or elevation measurements. The pilots use this information along with the forecasted weather changes and the local terrain as navigational tools.

Spectators can expect to see a variety of special-shaped balloons, including Angry Birds; Jewel, a hummingbird; Pegleg Pete, a pirate parrot; Rio Grande Raider, a pirate ship; SnoBird, a camera carrying penguin; Miss Bell, a replica of the Liberty Bell; Smokey Bear; Sushi; Gus T. Guppy; Wells Fargo’s Cent’re Stage; Pencil Boy and more.

Location: Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, 1595 N. Sierra Street in Reno.

Click HERE for an event shedule and more information on the Great Reno Balloon Race. For information on planning your trip to Reno and Northwestern Nevada, please dial the Reno-Tahoe Visitors Center at 775-827-7600 or click Visit Reno-Tahoe.


September 10 - 12, 2021
8:00am - 11:00am daily

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