|Posted on September 19, 2011 at 9:00 PM|
It's a fall tradition in St. Louis. The crowds don't need directions. The park is crowded, streets are bumper-to-bumper and everyone knows which direction to look. Scroll through photos of the Balloon Glow and the Great Forest Park Balloon Race.
The balloon glow happens before every balloon race. This year, more than 80,000 people saw 70 balloons light up underneath the fall sky. This event is particularly popular for photographers.
With a little heat, a ballon takes flight. The race is always on the third Saturday in September. Since recorded weather history, this is the best weather weekend in St. Louis.
There is nothing like being surrounded by huge colorful balloons. They come in several different sizes and shapes.
The star attraction of the balloon race is the Energizer Hot 'Hare' Balloon. At 166 feet, the bunny is taller than the Statue of Liberty and its ears are taller than the Presidents' faces on Mount Rushmore. The balloon is powered by double burners to produce 30 million BTUs per hour. That's equal to the heat of 5,000 gas grills.
I shot this while flying above Forest Park. It was my first time floating in a hot air balloon and the feeling was extraordinary. I can check 'flying in a hot air balloon' off my bucket list. The Great Forest Park is the largest single day balloon race in the country.
Pilots come from all across the world to fly their balloons above the St. Louis cityscape. I had the pleasure of flying with Denis Sutter. His family has particiapted in races all over the country and has gone through three hot air balloons. Their next race will be in Albuqureque, New Mexico to attend the largest balloon race in the country.
All good things must come to an end at some point and I know from my breif knowledge of physics that whatever comes up must come down. Turns out, we landed in a vacant lot near a house, bringing the whole neighborhood to life.