ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- The calendar still says summer, but this weekend fall begins unofficially in St. Louis with the Great Forest Park Balloon race. FOX 2 is proud to be the media sponsor of the balloon race.
This is a special year because this weekend marks the event`s 40th anniversary.
It began with just a hand full of pilots and spectators in 1973, but quickly grew thanks to the help of four friends who took over in 1977 and who still organize the race each year.
'It seems like yesterday that we started,' said John Schaumburg, one of the group of four, who all got their balloon pilot`s licenses after the first year of the race.
'When you look at some of the old pictures, when we were young and foolish and all looked like clowns, it really bring its home,' Schaumburg said.
The Great Forest Park balloon race is the second oldest in the country and the most well attended single day balloon race in America.
'It`s the only major balloon race in the country that takes off in a metropolitan area, so people don`t have to drive 45 minutes to get to some place in Wentzville,' said another of the co-organizers, Dan Schettler. 'We could have twice as many balloons. People are dying to come here, but we keep it at 70 for safety,' he said.
The Balloon Glow runs Friday night from 7-8:30P and the race lifts off Saturday afternoon at 4:30p.