Preparing for Great Reno Balloon Races - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Preparing for Great Reno Balloon Races

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Dozens of hot air balloons will fill the Reno sky bright and early Friday morning to start the Great Reno Balloon Race.

Thursday was media day at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park where we got a little preview.

Organizers say they expect record crowds out at the park this weekend. "We've got 93 balloons at the event this year," says launch commander Katie Griggs. "And the weather looks like it's going to be perfect."

Perfect this weekend, but not so perfect Thursday. Rain clouds filled the sky early Thursday morning, putting a damper on the launch.

"We're letting the balloons dry out, and tether a little bit and put on a bit of a show for the media," says Griggs. "But we're not letting anyone else fly today."

The weather may have been gloomy, but spirits were still high. Pilots say they love coming to Reno, where it's like seeing extended family once a year.

"You can be in gliders, you can be in helicopters, you can be in airplanes. Balloons is totally different than anything else," says pilot Craig Brunson.  

Brunson says flying balloons is a peaceful experience, even during races. "Just an enjoyable quiet time," he says. "Floating on air."

For fans on the ground, things probably won't be as peaceful with more than 150,000 people expected to stop by through the weekend.

Some families stopped by Thursday to take an early look at all the unique balloons.

"We're planning on coming back Saturday morning with dad," says Mindyn Clark with her two kids. "He thinks he needs a turn to see it all too."

Balloon race events continue through Sunday morning.

For full event details visit

Written by Adam Rasmussen

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