We arrived in Reno at 3:30 and promptly got lost because there was highway construction and off ramps were blocked. We ended up on the strip, which is peaceful at that time of morning. Finding Rancho San Rafael Park was a little confusing because its in the middle of a sleepy little neighborhood. We didn't even know we were in the right place until we saw direction attendants with glow sticks.
We parked our big noisy diesel truck in front of some poor sleeping peoples home and walked about a mile to the park. The vendors open up at 4:00 so Brian got his coffee and we headed down to the field. Within 30 minutes the place was filling up. No one wants to miss the "glow show." The first balloon out on the field was the Wells Fargo Stagecoach. It was huge. I asked my sweet sleepy husband to go stand in front of it. He obliged but doesn't look too happy about it. You'd think he'd be used to having his picture taken by now. He still grumbles as much as he did 15 years ago.
"glow show" where they burn special fuel to make the balloons "glow."
The panda inflates and glows
And they're off.
Darth Vader (from Belgium) takes off
And the Panda
The rest get ready
and the rest of them..............
As you can tell this is a huge event. Last year they said 150,000 people enjoyed the race over the three day period. I will definitely go again. I don't know how they manage to keep the event "free" with all the traffic control, law enforcement, fire and medics. Even if they just charged the photographers they would make bank. I have never seen so many camera's and tripods in my life.