There are only a few weeks until the East Texas skies are filled with colorful hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes as the date for the 35th annual Great Texas Balloon Race approaches.
It's not just a weekend of activities, however, with a full week of events planned as the Balloon Federation of America's Hot Air Competition Division will hold the United States Championship race in conjunction with the annual GTBR. A practice flight will be held Monday, July 23 for racers entering the national race.
Following that, competitive flights for the national event will begin Tuesday, July 24 and run through the following Sunday. The traditional Friday morning flight will be held on July 27 with the festival opening its gates to the public at 4 p.m. at the East Texas Regional Airport.
If You Go
Where: East Texas Regional Airport
when: July 27 to 29
$15 for Friday, $15 for Saturday, and Sunday is free. Admission includes access to the concerts. Children 12 and younger are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Active military members are free with military ID. Advance tickets are available at area Super 1 Foods and Brookshires for $12 each day and online at Outhousetickets.com and www.greattexasballoonrace.com
Practice flight: July 23
Competitive flights begin July 24 through 29; all competitive flights taking place Tuesday through Friday will be viewable around Longview, as well as portions of Gregg County
Traditional Friday morning flight: July 27
Festival opens its gates to the public at 4 p.m. at the East Texas Regional Airport
Balloon glows will take place each night after sundown entertainment
Two bands play both nights of the festival — East Texas’ JB and the Moonshine Band will open the festival on Friday and Ronnie Milsap will play July 28