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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.

This event took place in Forest Park (http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/forestpark ) which is in the center of St Louis and is 40% bigger than Central Park in New York City.

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.
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Comments on this photo:

Oct 09 2006 23:56 GMT junne PRO
this one has a very pleasing design, but i still liked the black one the best.
Oct 10 2006 00:50 GMT junsjazz
wow! images of clarity and color, as always!
Oct 10 2006 02:56 GMT patraaey
I went there too.
Oct 10 2006 03:00 GMT Kire403
of all the balloons I have seen in these series.. I like this more....
Oct 11 2006 05:37 GMT mavik
Vibrant colors!!!
Oct 11 2006 06:00 GMT PhotoPro PRO
patraaey - I saw your pics, very good! Do you live in St Louis?
Did you go to the balloon glow the night before? If not I posted an entire series: