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THE FORCE WILL BE STRONG AT THE 2011 RENO BALLOON RACES

darth_vader5Prepare yourself for something far from expected at this year’s Great Reno Balloon Race. While walking on Rancho San Rafael’s scenic fairgrounds between the nylon walls of traditional, vibrantly colored hot air balloons, take a moment to stand back and gaze at the sprouting horizon as you might spot a balloon that stands out amongst its cheery peers.

Fans will come face to face with their favorite Sith Lord. The highly anticipated 86-foot tall Darth Vader balloon will be traveling all the way from Belgium for the 30th Anniversary of the Great Reno Balloon Race. Pilots Benoit and Michel Lambert have traveled all over the world with the balloon, making appearances in countries such as France, Thailand and Canada.

As this is Darth Vader’s first journey to the Biggest Little City, we encourage you to welcome the Dark Side of the Force by sporting your best Star Wars gear to the Balloon Races.

Other unique shapes to be seen at this year’s race include: The Bonanza Casino sponsored soccer ball, The Wilbur May Foundation’s Hopper T. Frog, and Betty Jean, a new butterfly balloon. For more information on this year’s participating balloons and sponsorship options, visit www.renoballoon.com or call (775) 826-1181.

May the force be with you.

For more information go the Event Calendar at VisitRenoTahoe.com.

Spectator Tips for a Worry-Free Time at the Great Reno Balloon Race

BalloonsEvent organizers of The Great Reno Balloon Race, scheduled for Sept. 10 – 12at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, have put together some helpful tips to ensure that all spectators have a wonderful weekend at the Balloon Race. Tips include important information on transportation to the event, where to park, what to wear and other dos and don’ts:

  • Admission is free, but make sure to bring money for tethered rides, souvenirs or food and drink from a variety of vendors, including a VIP breakfast catered by High Pointe Catering.
  • Dress in layers; September in northern Nevada tends to bring chilly mornings.
  • Weather information is available at www.kkoh.com or News Talk 780.
  • Arrive early on Saturday and Sunday, in time to watch the Glow Show at 5 a.m., to get VIP seating for a $5 donation, or prime blanket area for free.
  • Please leave your pets at home. The abundance of people along with strange noises and surroundings can make animals anxious and confused.
  • Smoking is always prohibited on the launch field.
  • Don’t forget your camera so you can catch every moment of this spectacular event.
  • Please remember to recycle while at the event, you’ll not only be keeping our community 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.
  • Visit the kids play area on Balloon Boulevard, the vendor area, after Mass Ascension.
  • 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.

 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. Parking is also available at N. Sierra St. and McCarran Blvd. or the Coleman St. parking lot for a $5 donation to the Reno South Rotary Club children’s charities. Parking is prohibited along McCarran Blvd and violators will be towed.

 

  • Transportation to and from the event is provided by RTC RIDE, which offers direct, nonstop service to the entrance of the park on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 11 and 12, from 4 to 10 a.m. Each of the three stops in downtown Reno, Reed High School in Sparks and the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority Convention Center on south Virginia, are serviced 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.

 

  • If you’d rather ride your bike to the event, you can leave it with the bike valet at the Washington St. entrance for a donation to the Reno Bike Project.

 For a full schedule of events and more information about this year’s event, please visit www.renoballoon.comor call the Great Reno Balloon Race hotline at (775) 826-1181.

 Thanks to the continued support of generous sponsors, The Great Reno Balloon Race continues as a free event for its 29th year. This year’s major sponsors include: Wells Fargo Bank, Wilbur D. May Foundation, Silver Legacy Resort Casino,  Peppermill Hotel Casino, Harrah’s Reno, City of Reno, Jack in the Box, Great Basin Internet Services, News Talk 780 KOH, Bonanza Casino, Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. With a special thanks to our Founding Sponsors: Circus Circus, IGT, Sands Regency Casino Hotel, Muckel Anderson CPAs and the University of Nevada, Reno.

-Written by Rebecca Wikler, special to VisitRenoTahoe

Love is in the Air – Literally.

BalloonsMany people know exactly how their dream wedding will play out, right down to the flowers, music, weather and cake flavor. Are you among those who have fantasized about getting married in the sky?

The Great Reno Balloon Race is offering that once-in-a-lifetime experience this fall! On September 11, 2010 you can get married at The Great Reno Balloon Race! All eyes will be on you as the first bridal couple to wed at this internationally renowned hot-air balloon festival. Featured on the graceful rolling hills of Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, this dramatic event is the perfect backdrop to your dream wedding. Experience the beauty and excitement of a glorious morning wedding as a rainbow of hot-air balloons drift above your magical and romantic ceremony; this will be a spectacular wedding to remember! The Love is in the Air Wedding* will be awarded to the highest bidding couple. This exclusive destination wedding package will be provided to the lucky bride and groom by the Weddings of the West Association.

The All inclusive premier Wedding Package is valued at over $58,000+ and includes:

  • Wedding and reception for 25 guests at The Great Reno Balloon Race
  • Hot-air balloon ride directly following wedding***
  • Wedding consultant
  • Catering
  • Decorating****
  • Florists****
  • Music/musicians****
  • Tuxedos****
  • Limousine service
  • Bridal Suite & fine dining
  • Choice of two unique honeymoons
  • Hair & make-up for bride****
  • Make-up for bridal party****
  • Officiants
  • Photographers****
  • Videographer
  • Wedding Invitations and collateral
  • Wedding cake

The current bid is $9,600 and bidding closes TONIGHT at the stroke of midnight!

For more information please click here, call 775-826-1181 or email wedding@renoballoon.com. All proceeds from this wedding package go to The Great Reno Balloon Race, which is a non-profit community event.

Video from the Great Reno Balloon Race, 2008

Our friends over at Twelve Horses North America created a great video of the Great Reno Balloon Race, 2008.

Mike Henderson, a frequent contributor to this blog, shot the video and it was edited by Earl Spriggs. Check it out and tell a friend…