The 37th annual Great Balloon Race (http://www.greatforestparkballoonrace.com ) is was held on Sat September 16, 2006. The balloons are all setup close together in a large field and then they started inflating slowly. The race is called a "tortoise and hare" race because a lead balloon takes off and lands at a distant area - the "tortoise". The other balloons take off one by one(the "hares") and find the lead balloon. Once they find the lead balloon they drop a sack of birdseed as close as possible to that balloon. The balloon that drops their sack of birdseed closest to the "tortoise" wins the race.
We started out with a demonstration of precision parachuting. After the last parachutist lands it is time for the race to begin.
Unfortunately due to high winds(exceeding manufacturers standards) only about 30 of 90 balloons went up for the race. The biggest and specialty balloons were mostly too big to fly safely. The decision to go was left entirely up to the pilot.
This is the only balloon race that starts out inside a major metropolitan city in the United States. All of the other major balloon events take place just outside of the cities.