Thanks to the generous contributions of our sponsors attendance is FREE and the number of memories and photographs you can capture is endless.
The 2023 Great Forest Park Balloon Race weekend, presented by PNC Bank, will take place at Emerson Central Fields in Forest Park on Friday, Sept. 15 (The GLOW) & Saturday, Sept. 16 (The RACE). This free event brings families & friends together for two days of outdoor fun, “wow” moments, new experiences & memories that will last a lifetime.
GFPBR is one of the longest running hot air balloon races in the country, and one of the only that takes place in a large metropolitan city. The tradition began in 1973 with a handful of hot air balloons and a few spectators. Now an internationally renowned event, GFPBR welcomes more than 60 of the nation’s best hot air balloon pilots and thousands of spectators annually. Learn more about our unique history.
THE GLOW | FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
5:00 P.M. – Emerson Central Fields Opens
(Food trucks, concessions and family picnic areas available! – visit our FAQS page for more info about coolers and concessions).
6:00 P.M. – Live Music with DJ Reggie on the Main Stage
6:45 P.M. TO 8:45 P.M.** – THE BALLOON GLOW
The balloons “glow” like huge fireflies, a truly magical scene, and one not to be missed! The balloons do not launch during the balloon glow but for a portion of the evening (weather permitting) the rope line will be released, and spectators will be invited to walk around to enjoy the view and chat with pilots and crew.
9:00 P.M. – THE U.S. ARMY GOLDEN KNIGHTS PARACHUTE TEAM TAKES FLIGHT
9:15 P.M. – PNC BANK FIREWORKS FINALE
RACE DAY | SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
2:00 P.M. – CENTRAL FIELD OPENS
- Main Stage featuring DJ Reggie
- Family Picnic Areas Open
- Purina Children’s Entertainment Area Opens Featuring:
– Purina Pro Plan Performance Team (performances at 2 p.m., 3:45 p.m.)
– Activities from St. Louis Children’s Hospital
– Snap a a commemorative social media-worthy photo at “A View Worth Saving”, the new photo experience from PNC Bank
- Performances from local St. Louis dance and theatre troupes + inflatables, games, giveaways
- Midway concessions, food trucks and sponsor activities begin
3:00 P.M. – THE U.S. ARMY GOLDEN KNIGHTS PARACHUTE TEAM TAKES FLIGHT
3:30 P.M. – OPENING CEREMONIES
4:30 P.M.** – PNC BANK “HARE” BALLOON LAUNCHES
4:45 P.M.** – “HOUND” BALLOONS LAUNCH
** PLEASE NOTE:
The flight window for THE RACE is between 4:30 and 6:00 PM. Our goal is always to launch as scheduled, however, exact launch time is weather dependent. The #GFPBR pilot team monitors wind conditions & flight path details in coordination with the national weather service, our #GFPBR pilots and air traffic control. Real-time updates will be posted on our social media channels.