Up, Up and Away!
Great Texas Balloon Race Returns to East Texas
Longview – This weekend, July 27-29, will bring the return of the Great Texas Balloon Race (GTBR) to the East Texas Regional Airport and marks 33 years of hot–air balloon racing in Longview. It’s a world class event attracting the very best competitive pilots from across the United States and the world. Packed with events from dawn to dusk, the GTBR is a weekend festival with something for everyone.
Known as the longest running hot-air balloon event in Texas, The Great Texas Balloon Race began in 1978. From its original venue at Longview Mall, the race moved to the former Stroh’s Brewery site (1985-1986) and then to its current home at the East Texas Regional Airport.
Events like sport and special shapes balloon competitions and the now famous “Balloon Glow” which was the brainchild of original race organizer, Dr. Bill Bussey in 1981 are the cornerstones of the weekend. But when the balloons aren’t in the air, exciting aircraft flights and static exhibits, skydivers, great musical entertainment, an expansive “Kids Land” and fabulous food and craft vendors round out the event for the whole family.
Balloon Flights begin the National event on July 24, Tuesday morning with a flight over the City of Longview and continue each morning through Sunday over Kilgore, Longview and East Texas Regional Airport. Launch and landing sites change each day as they are always determined by wind and the weather.
Balloon Glows on Friday and Saturday night entertain crowds with an awesome display of color and excitement. One of the most popular things to do at the event as the public is able to get up close and watch how balloons are inflated and operate.
Live Concerts both Friday and Saturday nights always feature an entertaining band as the headliner. This year will feature J.B. and the Moonshine Band on Friday, and legendary Ronnie Milsap on Saturday.
Kids Land is a safe restricted area for children that requires a small separate entry fee. Activities and attractions differ from year to year but it is always a fun time.
Vendors display their arts, crafts and other merchandise in booths lined up along an improvised midway.
Food Vendors make sure there is always enough to eat and drink during the day and evening.
Admission prices are $15 for Friday, $15 for Saturday and Sunday is free. Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Active military members are free with military ID. Advance tickets can be purchased for $12 online through Outhouse Tickets.
Every East Texan should experience The Great Texas Balloon Race. Make plans to make memories at the end of this month in Longview, Texas!