When Ryan and I are were first married, we lived in Dogtown, within walking distance of Forest Park. And even though we got caught in a traffic jam (where we did get to see hot air balloons from the road), we somehow never managed to make it to The Great Forest Park Balloon Race then, or in the 16 total years we’ve lived in the St. Louis area.
This year, the event was scheduled to be held on Art Hill, instead of the Central Fields, which is a much easier walk from the nearest MetroLink station. So I decided that this was our big change to attend. Actually, I had intended to take the children to the balloon glow on Friday night, but I was unsure of what kind of unrest we might encounter after dark, so we decided to go the race yesterday afternoon instead.
It started late…almost an hour late according to the schedule. Since we’d never been before, I don’t know if that was to be expected or not. The wait was frustrating, and we were pretty close to just heading home (it was HOT!), but then we noticed that they were finally starting to fill a few balloons:
Once that process began, things moved pretty quickly. Before we knew it, the “hare” (sadly, the PNC Bank balloon, and not the Energizer Bunny balloon we were hoping for), launched, followed by the iconic Remax balloon, and then all the rest of the “hounds” in intervals:
We enjoyed a walk around the Grand Basin, to get a view of the launch from several vantage points. And there is truly no bad view of Art Hill!
This was a fun event, in spite of the long wait. The crowd’s energy was fantastic…there was cheering every time a balloon lifted off. And the view of over a dozen balloons (about the most you could see at any one time), floating in the distance seemed like something from a dream.
I’m glad we finally had a chance to see it for ourselves…maybe next year, we’ll get to experience the balloon glow, too!