The Great Reno Balloon Race


Rancho San Rafael Park, Reno, NV
September 7, 2018 -September 9, 2018

Soaring above the high desert of Western Reno is one of the most unique events in the North Tahoe area, the Great Reno Balloon Race! In early September this annual, free, three-day festival (only a 30 minute drive from Truckee) marks its 37th anniversary.

While you may not be a morning person, the “Glow Show” on Friday and Saturday morning caters to you. A twinkling light show that is choreographed to music begins at 5:15am to guide festival go-ers to the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park where the festival is held. Pajamas are highly encouraged as there is the “Biggest Little Pajama Party” at 7am. “Balloon Boulevard” hosts vendors with coffee and donuts for those needing an early morning pick-me-up and souvenirs can be found as well.

Launching of the balloons begins at 7am as the sun rises over the high desert, mountainous skyline. This is one of the most spectacular sights of the day: nearly 90 colorful balloons take flight and light the darkened sky. Now, don’t miss what makes this so special: each balloon spans approximately 80 feet in height and 50 feet in diameter; an entire sunrise sparkling with colorful, glowing balloons, surrounded by the Sierra Mountain range.

While it may be earlier than your regular wake-up, this unique and colorful festival will be worth the missing sleep. Once you head back up the mountain, September is a great time to take a nap on the beach or refresh yourself in the crisp waters of Lake Tahoe or Donner Lake.