Get ready for the 30th anniversary Great Reno Balloon Race This Weekend!

Reno, NV….Event organizers of The Great Reno Balloon Race, scheduled for Sept. 9 – 11 at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, have put together some helpful tips to ensure that all spectators have a wonderful weekend at the event. Tips include important information on transportation to the event, where to park, what to wear and other helpful ideas:

* Admission is free, but make sure to bring money for tethered rides, souvenirs, food and drink from a variety of vendors.
* Dress in layers; September in northern Nevada tends to bring chilly mornings.
* Weather information is available at or News Talk 780.
* Arrive early on Saturday and Sunday, in time to watch the Glow Show at 5 a.m. and Dawn Patrol at 5:30.
* Remember that balloons cannot be steered once airborne. Be sure to stay aware of your surroundings on the launch field and once the balloons have ascended.
* Please leave your pets at home. The abundance of people along with unpredictable noises and surroundings can make animals anxious and confused.
* Smoking is never allowed on the launch field. Besides the obvious flammable properties of propane, which all balloons carry, cigarette ashes can damage balloons. This can create a real danger to the pilots once they are in the air.
* Please remember to recycle while at the event, you’ll not only be keeping our community park clean, but you’ll be helping out the NorthStar District Boy Scouts Troup #168, who will use the recycling as a fundraiser. The more you recycle the more money they’ll raise.
* Stay in your pajamas on Saturday, Sept. 11 for The World’s Largest Pajama Party. Come in your best (or worst) bed-head to enter in the Bed-Head Competition. Judging starts at 8 a.m. at the Pajama Party tent with Bill and Connie of Alice 96.5. There will be a special Star Wars themed category in honor of the Darth Vader Balloon, and the grand prize is tickets and airfare to see Lady Gaga in Las Vegas.
* Don’t forget your camera so you can catch every moment of this spectacular event. Submit your best amateur photos to’s photo contest to win a ride at the 2012 event! You’ll want to be sure to capture some of this year’s extra-special, special shaped balloons: Betty Jean, the Butterfly Balloon and Hopper T. Frog, sponsored by the May Foundation; the Soccer Ball, sponsored by Cactus Creek Prime Steakhouse; the Center Stage stagecoach balloon sponsored by Wells Fargo; Smokey Bear, sponsored by Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators; the Party Panda, sponsored by Raley’s; and last but certainly not least, the Darth Vader Balloon.
* Visit the kids play area on the launch field, after Mass Ascension.

Transportation/Parking Tips:

* There is a limited amount of parking at the event so be sure to arrive early. There is free parking available at the University’s north lots, but all cars must be removed by 10 a.m. Park closer to the event at N. Sierra St. and McCarran Blvd. or the Coleman St. parking lot for a $10 donation to the Balloon Race. VIP Reserved Parking passes will not be available at the event and had to be purchased in advance by Aug. 31. For safety, parking is prohibited along McCarran Blvd and violators will be towed.
* Leave the parking and traffic to RTC. Transportation to and from the event is provided by RTC RIDE, which offers direct, nonstop bus service to inside the park on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 10 and 11, from 4 to 10 a.m. The downtown Reno 4th Street Station, Reed High School in Sparks and the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority Convention Center on south Virginia, have service every 30 minutes. Round trip fares are $5 for adults and $2.50 for youth (ages 6 to 18) and seniors/disabled. For more information call (775) 348-RIDE.
* Handicap parking is available at the Washington St. entrance to the park for those with a handicapped placard or license plate.

Schedule of Events

The Great Reno Balloon Race is free to spectators thanks to the generous support of event sponsors. It is always scheduled for the first Friday through Sunday after Labor Day.

2011 Great Reno Balloon Race September 9 – 11

Thursday, September 8
6:45 a.m. – Media Day Launch (Sponsors and invited Media)

Friday, September 9
6:45 a.m. – Mass Ascension Launch / Off-field Competitions
7:30 – 10:00 a.m. – Other On-field Competitions
9:30 a.m. – E.L. Cord Foundation Tissue Paper Balloon Launch at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park

Saturday, September 10
5:00 a.m. – Glow Show
5:30 a.m. – Dawn Patrol
6:45 a.m. – Mass Ascension Launch / Off-field Competitions
7:30 – 10:00 a.m. – Other On-field Competitions
5:00 – 10:00 a.m. – Pajama Party
8:00 – 8:30 a.m. – Bed-Head Competition Judging

Sunday, September 11
5:00 a.m. – Glow Show
5:30 a.m. – Dawn Patrol
6:45 a.m. – Mass Ascension Launch / Off-field Competitions
7:30 – 10:00 a.m. – Other On-field Competitions

Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
1595 N. Sierra St., Reno, Nevada

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.