Great Reno Balloon Race Takes Flight Friday - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Great Reno Balloon Race Takes Flight Friday

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Friday, the largest free hot air balloon race in the nation kicks off at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno. It's the 33rd Annual Great Reno Balloon Race.

Over 150 volunteers have been preparing the park since Tuesday.

“We are here creating a city,” said Pete Copeland, Executive Director of the Great Reno Balloon Race. “It is a city full of all services and infrastructure you would find in any town. Transforming the park is quite an endeavor and we do it in about two days.”

Over 90 total balloons will take flight with over a dozen special shaped balloons.

A balloon new to the race this year is ‘La Ristra Ita,' a 128 foot tall balloon shaped as chili peppers from New Mexico. Pilot Michael Shrum enjoys flying in the area.

“It's a beautiful city,” said Shrum. “This valley is gorgeous.”

Even though he is an experienced pilot, he says steering is all dependent on the wind.

“You don't have to know where you are going, as long as you are on your way,” Shrum said.

Over 100,000 people are expected to attend this year's festival over the next three days.
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