Gentle Giants: Great Reno Balloon Race colors the Sierra Sky in September

The Great Reno Balloon Race returns for its 28th year Sept. 11, 12 and 13 to Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in northwest Reno, showcasing more than 100 hot-air balloons from all over the world. This year’s event will include the World’s Largest Pajama Party on Saturday, Sept. 12. So stay in your PJs and don’t be afraid to show off that bed-head in the hilarious Bed- Head Competition.

Crowd favorites return this year with the Wells Fargo-sponsored bumble bees and stagecoach- shaped balloon. The Energizer Bunny keeps going and going as it makes yet another appearance this year, with ears as tall as the presidents’ faces on Mount Rushmore! Smokey the Bear returns to the Balloon Race thanks to Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators. The Mayflower balloon will make its third event appearance this year thanks to Sierra Moving Systems.

A new shape will make its debut at the Balloon Race this year thanks to the Wilbur D. May Foundation.  Pandy the Panda Bear, standing at 100-feet tall, will provide tethered rides to children after Mass Ascension each day. Lastly, Tony the Tiger will appear, standing nearly nine stories tall!

It’s worth the wake to see these gentle giants ascend into the early morning sky for a spectacular show of bright colors and fun shapes. For a full event schedule, travel resources and parking information, visit or call (775) 826-1181.

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Some scroll through the day. Others seize it. Go do something crazy. And tag it #RenoTahoe so we can see it.