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Bethany Coffey, a crew member with balloon pilot Scott Wooge, fires the team's race craft sponsored by Purina Pro Plan on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, before tomorrow's Great Forest Park Balloon Race. The annual event returns to the Central Fields for its 47th year. The balloon glow, on the eve of the race, will kick off just before sundown today. The stars and stripes of pilot Frank Anger's balloon is seen in the background. Photo by Christian Gooden, email@example.com
Pilot Tom Caton of Time Travelers Ballooning and a passenger float over downtown St. Louis on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2020, after launching from Kiener Plaza for the Lift Up St. Louis flight. COVID-19 has forced a hybrid alternative to the Great Forest Park Balloon Race by having pilots launch from different parts of the area over a two-day span for sponsored rides. Caton was Maryville University. Photo by Christian Gooden, firstname.lastname@example.org
For fans of the Great Forest Park Balloon Race, which didn’t take place last year due to the pandemic, things are looking up.
The 49th annual race and festival, which involves more than 50 balloons, will return Sept. 17-18 to Forest Park, organizers announced this week.
Last year, organizers reimagined the event as a series of “Lift Up St. Louis” tribute flights to honor essential workers, educators, healthcare workers and people standing up for change. The sentiments of gratitude and strength shown during those flights will remain, organizers said.
The event will take place at the Emerson Central Fields, with the Balloon Glow on Sept. 17 and the race on the Sept. 18.