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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 21:41 GMT FeatherBirdLady
Up, Up and away, in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon! :)
Oct 11 2006 21:46 GMT pandaiolo
I'm more and more scared !!!!!!!

PandaPRO !!!!

Oct 11 2006 22:39 GMT tadieubone PRO
so excellent sreies , nice perspectives and colours in the hole serie !!!
Oct 11 2006 23:33 GMT DGM
Good for advertisement business!
Oct 11 2006 23:52 GMT mockingbirdxo
balloon races are so cool =] i love your pictures.
Oct 12 2006 00:55 GMT mwalters
Nice series of balloon photos!
Oct 12 2006 01:36 GMT SarahLevistrauss
Oi Bill !

Oct 12 2006 01:40 GMT PhotoPro PRO
thank you tadieubone!
Oct 12 2006 04:01 GMT Poulet PRO
Really impressive series, Bill !!! :)))
Oct 12 2006 04:08 GMT MKC
Great! :)
Oct 12 2006 06:06 GMT PhotoPro PRO
thank you Poulet!
Happy Birthday!
Oct 12 2006 06:58 GMT marijke06
any idea how many balloons you've seen there?....
a nice one here again!
Oct 12 2006 10:07 GMT PhotoPro PRO
Mari I think it was 30 that took off, about 70 the night before for the balloon glow