The Great Texas Balloon Race

by admin on June 28, 2010

in Fun

There are a lot of neat events taking place all around East Texas and unfortunately Tyler cannot play host to all of them. While we’ve had our share of notable events and attractions this summer, we also share the spot light with the surrounding communities. From the Texas Shakespeare Festival held in Kilgore, to the Jacksonville Tomato Festival, the Piney Woods region of Texas is certainly full of activity.

Every year our sister city and sometimes genial rival Longview, holds an exciting and unique event called the called the Great Texas Balloon Race. Evidently the tradition first began in 1978 to mark the opening of the Longview Mall and has been held annually ever since. In 1985 the Governor of Texas, designated Longview, the balloon capital of Texas. Every year there is a series of events and attractions surrounding the race that help make it the huge event that it is and brings in visitors from all over the country. One very popular event is the Friday night balloon glow. Evidently balloons of all shapes and sizes are lit up, and put into the air. Ok, so I’m sure I’m not doing the event any of its due credit with this oh so vivid description, but it’s supposed to be really beautiful to watch. The fact that so many come to see the process tells me it must be quite the spectacle. Another oddity taking place this year is the Cluster Balloon flight. A pilot will be lifted into the air on a group of helium filled balloons. Why does this event interest me? And no, that’s not a rhetorical question, I’m really not sure. I think it has something to do with the Curious George story where George is whisked into the air by a bundle of helium balloons. Of course I have a number of personal hang-ups and or eccentricities that I suspect stem from my love of those books.

The Great Texas Balloon Race will be held at the East Texas Regional Airport in Longview, and covers three days, July thirtieth, thirty first, and the first of August. Concerts will be held the first two nights (Friday and Saturday), and the whole event ends Sunday evening. Advance tickets are twelve dollars, fifteen at the gate. Children under twelve are admitted free and admission is free for everyone all day Sunday. For more information on various events, or for a schedule and other info visit the website at http://greattexasballoonrace.com . It might not be happening in Tyler, but it promises to be a lot of fun!

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