Great Reno Balloon Race to celebrate its 33rd year

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Updated: 7/24/2014 1:19 pm
RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) --Today, The Great Reno Balloon Race (GRBR) announced its full slate of 2014 attractions during a special media preview at Great Basin Brewing Company in Reno. The event, now in its 33rd year, takes to northern Nevada’s sky with 90 hot-air balloons, including 14 special shapes, on Friday, Sept. 5 to Sunday, Sept. 7 from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. Headlining the event is the 86-foot tall Darth Vader balloon, which depicts the iconic black helmet from the Star Wars villain. Darth’s presence draws Star Wars fans from across the nation, including the 501st Legion and Mandalorian Mercs, two groups specializing in the world’s ultimate in Imperial costumes.

“Every year, we strive to put on the best event possible for our fans,” said Pete Copeland executive director of GRBR. “This year is no exception. We’ve formed some incredible partnerships with new balloons, vendors and local companies, as well as, successfully shaped new promotions with current sponsors, like working with Raley’s to bring Radio Disney, to add more value to the event.”

In total, GRBR will have 14 special shapes, including new balloons: High Kitty, Beagle Maximus, La Ristra, Old Lady and the Shoe, Perfect World and returning special shapes: Darth Vader, Smokey Bear, Annie the Lady Bug, Sushi, Gus T. Guppy, Wells Fargo Cent’re Stage, Soccer Ball, Pencil Boy and Limoncello. For the past 20 years, Wilbur May Foundation has graciously sponsored two special shaped balloons to give free tethered rides to the children and families of the Children’s Cabinet. This year, Wilbur May has sponsored the Old Lady and the Shoe and the Beagle Maximus Balloons.

“The 20 year partnership between these two entities has been incredible,” said Copeland. “We want to thank Dixie May and the Wilbur May Foundation for providing such a memorable experience for at-risk children and families in our community.”

Additionally, in an effort to keep business local, GRBR hired FUEL Reno to design this year’s merchandise and official collector’s pin. The original designs and styles capture the essence of the Balloon Race through a fresh and creative perspective. FUEL also found local young artist, Cali Wanco, to create a feminine design, of which a beautiful 92” x 42” canvas of the design will be auctioned off to benefit Wilbur D. May Museum. Continuing on its partnership, IGT’s Fernando Olivera designed this year’s official poster encapsulating the event through a child’s perspective. And, Great Basin Brewing Company brewed the official beer for GRBR, “Dawn Patrol,” which will be sold at both the Reno and Sparks Breweries and local retail outlets.

“This event can’t happen without the support of our volunteers, sponsors and community,” said Copeland. “ We thank them for celebrating the Balloon Race for the last 32 years, and allowing us to keep the event free, we look forward to sharing many more memories.”

For information about GRBR, including Cloud 9 VIP Club, reserved VIP parking passes, volunteering and vendor opportunities contact (775) 826-1181 or visit online

RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- The Great Reno Balloon Race is celebrating its 33rd year in Northern Nevada and has announced the 2014 event lineup.

Over the course of the last year, GRBR has been working to bring new partnerships, promotions, special shapes and merchandise for its fans.

"One of the things we've done this year is to bring our merchandise local, and we've ventured out and partnered with Fuel -- a local company here -- to create (a) product merchandise line and include local artists," said Pete Copeland, Reno Balloon Races Executive Director.

GRBR is a non-profit organization offering free admission because of its sponsorship support. For more information, and to view a complete 2014 event schedule, visit or download the “Reno Balloon” app on your smart phone.

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