ST. LOUIS – The anticipated 2023 Great Forest Park Balloon Race Fest is this weekend. It kicks off Friday night with the balloon glow and then transitions to race day on Saturday. This event is at Emerson Central Fields, in Forest Park.

Originating in 1973, Balloon Fest has grown from a gathering featuring just a few hot air balloons and a small audience to an internationally renowned event with 50 or more hot air balloons and skilled pilots preparing for the race.

On Saturday, the flight window for the race is set between 4:30 and 6:00 PM. While the aim is always to launch as scheduled, the exact timing hinges on weather conditions.

The pilot teams will monitor wind conditions and flight path details in coordination with the national weather service, fellow pilots, and air traffic control. Stay updated with real-time information on the balloon race’s media channels. 

List of Events: 

“The Glow” on Friday, September 15

  • 5 p.m.: Gates Open at Emerson Central Fields
  • Enjoy a variety of food trucks, concessions, and picnic areas.
  • Engage in exciting activities presented by St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
  • Explore the tractors on display with Sydentricker Nobbe and much more.
  • Participate in inflatables, games, and sponsored activities that kick off the festivities.
  • 6:00 p.m.: Groove to the beats of DJ Reggie at the WASH U Main Stage.
  • 6:45 p.m.. to 8:45 p.m. – Marvel at “The Balloon Glow.” 
  • 9:00 p.m.: Witness the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team Take to the Skies
  • 9:15 p.m.: Prepare for the PNC Bank Fireworks Finale.

Race Day is on Saturday, September 16

  • 1:00 p.m.: Gates Open at Central Field
  • Enjoy performances by DJ Reggie, WASH U Acapella Groups, the Dragon Drum & Bugle Corps, and the “Pazazz Performers” from the St. Louis Academy of Dance.
  • Discover family picnic areas for a perfect day out.
  • Visit the Purina Children’s Entertainment Area, featuring the Purina Pro Plan Performance Team (performances at 1:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.).
  • Partake in activities at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
  • Engage with tractors on display courtesy of Sydentricker Nobbe and much more.
  • Delight in the Midway concessions, food trucks, inflatables, games, and sponsor activities.
  • 4:45 p.m.: Witness the “Hound” balloons take flight.