Balloon Glow to kick off festivities of the Great Forest Park Balloon Race

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ST. LOUIS – This is the 47th year of the Great Forest Park Balloon Race! The September tradition is all about family fun and taking beautiful pictures with the beautiful backdrop of Forest Park and the city.

One thing that makes this race unique is that it’s one of the few races in the county that takes place in a major metropolitan area versus a rural area. This means you have to be extra careful of all of the buildings and highways. The race is by invite only and they have the most experienced pilots. And since it’s a family event, they really stress safety. That’s one reason the race isn’t a timed one, it’s actually more of an accuracy race.

The Balloon Glow is Friday evening at Central Fields. Soft-sided coolers are allowed as well so you can bring your own picnic. The balloons will then glow from dusk until 9 p.m. When these balloons glow, it really is magical. A train horn will be pulled every 3 minutes and that’s really neat because all of the balloons will fire their burners at one time and it gives a beautiful firefly effect. There will also be fireworks at 9:15 p.m.

For the race Saturday, festivities begin at noon. There will be skydivers at 3 p.m., opening ceremonies at 3:30 p.m. and the first of the balloon launches begin at 4:30 p.m.

Wind is always a big factor when these balloons fly and it will determine where they fly Saturday afternoon. They monitor the weather hour-by-hour and have a bunch of different thresholds depending on the wind and conditions. They work very closely with the pilots and safety for the pilots and everyone involved is their top priority.

This event is free. For more information, visit

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