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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 11 2006 12:45 GMT junne PRO
this is a very good shot! love the design and also the composition with the building behind
Oct 11 2006 13:39 GMT SunnyRea
I like this one with the rat! :)
Oct 11 2006 14:04 GMT kosmos PRO
Yes, the rat is cool! And that building in the background look so small!
Oct 11 2006 15:06 GMT nikoteen
LOVE the series!! very interesting!! *blushes* but i'm scared of heights...omigods! O_O
Oct 11 2006 15:17 GMT hans55 PRO
a flying rat ?? !!!
Oct 12 2006 00:50 GMT mickmusser
This is a fine series. And this is one I find to be another stand out with the interesting background.
Oct 12 2006 01:38 GMT PhotoPro PRO
thank you Mick!
Oct 12 2006 14:45 GMT lujandegrace
Oct 12 2006 18:49 GMT deanbed
A fine shot with that building in the back too!