Full of Hot Air? You Bet!

Don’t be alarmed by the sight of Darth Vader floating through the Reno/Tahoe skies this weekend. Yes, Darth Vader.

The 30th anniversary of The Great Reno Balloon Race will feature an 86-foot ballooned version of Star War’s infamous villain. In the spirit of the 2012 featured balloon, spectators are encouraged to wear “Star Wars” attire. It should be a fun spectacle of local Luke Skywalkers, Princess Leias, Obi-Wans and Hans Solos.

If you are looking for a new kind of colorful dawn patrol, then grab a warm blanket and head out to the Balloon Race Friday through Sunday at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno. The first ascension of balloons begins at 5:30am, followed by the Glow Show: an illumination of the balloons accompanied by music. At 6:45am the mass ascension of competing balloons lift off and it is one beautiful sight to see.

A momentous ceremony will take place Sunday morning in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11; the official Northern Nevada tribute to the tragedy. At 5am a musical tribute begins, proceeded by Nevada’s Governor, Brian Sandoval, addressing the crowd at 6:30am before the mass ascension. Every competing balloon will don an American flag and all county officials are projected to attend.

If you’re not satisfied as a chilly morning spectator, then be sure to break out the big lens and submit your photographs for the 2011 Amateur Photo Contest. The winner will receive a hot-air balloon ride in the 2012 event and an official 2012 Balloon Race jacket. Finally, their photo will be published in the 2012 Balloon Race Event Program.

Grab your hot coffee, camera and get ready for a breathtaking morning.


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