|An image from the 2011 Great Reno Balloon Race. Photo by Matthew B. Brown|
BY ADAM ROBERTSON
It is an awe-inspiring image — as the first rays of sunlight break over the eastern horizon, dozens of hot-air balloons rise into the sky above Reno. Such will be the sight in The Biggest Little City come early September, when The Great Reno Balloon Race returns to Northern Nevada.
The GRBR, September 7-9, will have its usual festivities: Dawn Patrol, the pajama party, vendors, kids balloon rides, and the return of the Darth Vader balloon, heralded by the Imperial March during lift-off. However, after a change in management — the first in 31 years, according to Executive Director Pete Copeland — some exciting additions are coming to the 2012 event:
• First, two new balloons have been added to the Dawn Patrol, alongside the five from years past. If you’ve ever wanted to ride in one of the Dawn Patrol balloons, now’s your chance; opportunities for rides in the Dawn Patrol — and the Darth Vader balloon — will be auctioned off on eBay, leading up to the GRBR. The bidding is scheduled to start on August 6. This year will also feature more special-shaped balloons than ever before.
|Balloon Brew. Photo by Adam Robertson|
• The new Cloud 9 VIP Club will be located on the field in a see-through tent, offering a unique 360-degree view of the event. VIP access is $75 for adults, $50 for kids 10 and younger, and $750 for a corporate table for 10 guests. Tickets includes breakfast and champagne provided by the Eldorado Hotel Casino, a Cloud 9 VIP badge, VIP parking passes, and a shuttle from the parking lot to the tent.
• On Tuesday, July 24, Great Basin Brewing Company unveiled its limited edition Balloon Brew: a crystal blonde ale, reminiscent of champagne, made with three different types of hops and crystal malts that give it “hints of honey…[and] floral, citrus, and spice notes." The beer is light and refreshing, without a heavy bitter flavor.
The Balloon Brew will be available at the Reno and Sparks Great Basin Brewing locations, and in six-packs at select Northern Nevada retailers and casinos. It will also be available during the event and for a limited time thereafter, as stock permits. A portion of each pint and six-pack sale will go to The GRBR organization.
For more information, visit renoballoon.com or call 775-826-1181.