It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No… it’s the Great Forest Park Balloon Race!
St. Louis will host its 42nd Annual Hot Air Balloon Race on the weekend of September 19th. Over 150,000 spectators will meet in Forest Park to see 70 world-class balloon pilots light up the sky and race.
The celebration will kick off Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. with the Balloon Glow and Glow in the Park Dinner events. During the Balloon Glow the inflated hot air balloons light up Central Field while offering a close-up look at the balloons. Concessions will be available as you walk around, or you can grab something for when you settle in for the fireworks show around 9:15 p.m.
Glow in the Park Dinner is a fundraising event benefitting the Animal Cruelty Fund. Located in Forest Park, the dinner party attendees are given the best seats in Central Field for the Balloon Glow. There will be dinner, cocktails, dancing, and a front row view of the fireworks show. Forest Park is providing private entry and private parking for the event. You can buy your tickets here.
Saturday, September 19th, is race day. Festivities will begin at noon and include: Purina Pro Plan children’s entertainment area complete with dogsand pony rides. There will also be a hugehuman chess board, concessions and throughout the day, there will also be live music, the Wehrenberg/Suburban Journals Photo Contest, and skydivers, according to the official website.
At 3:30 p.m. Opening Ceremonies will begin, and at 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. the races will begin. Where are they racing to? Well, whichever way the wind blows! Be sure to check the weather on Saturday to see which way the balloons will head.
This local event began in 1973 with founders Nikki Caplan and John O’Toole. It was inducted into the Library of Congress in May 2000 to celebrate our nation’s bicentennial, and was chosen for its significance to the St. Louis and Missouri community.
The Great Forest Park Balloon Race entirely free and open to the public. Dogs are also welcome to attend.Coolers with your own snacks and refreshments will also be allowed.
For full details, check out the Great Forest Park Balloon Race website.
We hope you all enjoy this local legacy, and take pride in one of our annual, St. Louis events!