Sunday, September 9, 2012

Great Reno Balloon Race



This weekend we went to Reno to see the Great Reno Balloon Race.  It is a hot air balloon race that attracts over 100 balloons and about 150,000 spectators.  This was a visually spectacular event, and we took plenty of pictures as well as a timelapse video of the balloons inflating and taking off (which you can see below).


Here is the little timelapse video we made of the balloons taking off.



The event began before sunrise with the glow show, where several balloons light up the predawn sky by simultaneously producing bright flames that light up the entire balloon.
Glow show balloons light up the night
Then the racers began to inflate their balloons.  Nearly one hundred of them!  The spectators were mixed in with all the balloons so pretty much everyone was surrounded by balloons.  The crews inflate the envelope first with high power fans, and then they heat the air with giant flame throwing heaters.  As the air becomes significantly warmer than the air around it, these giant skywhales sit upright and then begin to pull skyward.  It is really impressive to see these massive objects suddenly pull skyward.



As they inflate, you can see the vents on the top which the pilots use to release hot air when they want to descend quickly or when they have landed and want to be sure that they wont accidentally take off again.


In less than an hour, the sky was literally filled with balloons.  It was a glorious sight.



See more pictures (including the specialty balloons) below.




A shark and a bubble

Wells Fargo wagon

Darth Vader

A soccer ball

A strawberry

The world

Widdakay puts a hat on the shark
A goldfish and a ladybug
Pepsi can balloon

Smokey the Bear balloon

Of course, when I think of hot air balloons, I think of the Smalltalk programming language, but that is a another story.