Great Reno Balloon Race

I attended the Great Reno Balloon Race this year.

My friend and I drove up to Reno from Sacramento, leaving my area around 12:20 AM. We arrived in Reno around 2:30 AM and stopped to get something to eat. Well, mostly we sat in the drive-thru for 15-20 minutes because the line was backed up! As soon as the person behind us backed out of the drive-thru, we followed suit. We went into the restaurant and found out that the line inside was almost as long! Turns out they had a few workers call in “sick” and were very short-handed.

The lady taking orders was pretty funny. I wish I could remember her name. She managed to stay calm amidst the craziness of the rush and short-handedness. She deserves a raise! The girl in front of us in line, Laura, was a bit too anxious to get her food. At one point, while Laura was waiting to have her order taken an employee called out “Chad” to have him pick up his order. He apparently didn’t hear his name being called… multiple times. Finally, Laura yelled out, “Chad!” to which Chad came running. Laura then told Chad he was “killing” her.

Every time the employees called out someone else’s name Laura would get up, walk over and say, “Laura?” or “Did you say Laura?” to which the employee would reply with something funny like, “You need to calm down!”

Bless Laura’s heart. She was probably as starving as I was!

Finally we got our food and headed over to the LDS Institute of Religion where we were meeting up with our friends before the event. Most of us decided to drive over to an LDS building that was closer to walk from there.

We walked over to Rancho San Rafael Park, where the event is held each year. It was about a 12 minute walk or so, sort of uphill, which is good because I hadn’t walked on the treadmill the previous day.

The park was massive! There was a lake, a pretty white gazebo, tons of vendor tents, and lots of goodies. And then there were the people…

There were thousands of them! Everywhere!

It was so cool to see these massive balloons up close as they lit up the dark morning sky for the “glow show” before the Dawn Patrol began.

The balloons were as vibrant as any flower you would see in the wild and some were even in cool shapes of characters such as Smokey the Bear, Yoda, and Darth Vader.

Speaking of Darth Vader, this is what the official website’s Stand-Out Moment section says, “2011: The Darth Vader balloon made his first appearance to the event. The balloon gave way to Star Wars themed activities and contests and also brought in an entourage of Storm Troopers and included Darth himself!”

Too funny!

And then there was this guy, which I sent a picture of to my dad.


My dad loves Elvis.

But anyway, if you’re looking for a fun, family friendly event to just hang out and relax at then check out the Great Reno Balloon Race next year! Or, if you don’t have kids, bring your partner and watch the beautiful sunrise shine over the mountains.


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