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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 or call (775) 826-1181.

May the force be with you.

For more information go the Event Calendar at

Give the Gift of Flight this Holiday Season

balloon race flightFor the first time ever, The Great Reno Balloon Race is offering One-Day Sponsorships, for those who have always wanted to take a hot-air balloon ride at the event. Special pricing on these sponsorship packages will only be available through the end of January. Give the gift of flight this holiday season for just $349. Prices will increase to $399 on Feb. 1, 2011.

A one-day sponsorship includes a ride for one person on one of the three days of the event, an official Great Reno Balloon Race poster, a commemorative Balloon Race pin, and a coveted VIP parking pass for the entire weekend. Sponsors will also see their name all year long on the Balloon Race website, and in the official program.

For more information about becoming a sponsor of the 30th Anniversary Great Reno Balloon Race, please visit the Sponsors section at, or call the 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 30th year.

-Rebecca Wikler