National hot air balloon championships, GTBR take flight Monday

LONGVIEW/GREGG COUNTY (KYTX) - The Great Texas Balloon Race Festival is July 26-28 at the East Texas Regional Airport.

The festival is part of the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships July 22-28. Flights July 22-26 will be over the Longview or Kilgore areas, while flights during the festival are at the airport. To learn more about the schedule, click here.


Advance tickets for the festival are $12 and available at area Brookshire's and Super1Foods grocery stores. Admission at the gate on Friday and Saturday will be $15, and free on Sunday. Children age 12 and under will be admitted for free all three days.

It's a world class event attracting the very best competitive pilots from across the United States and the world.

Considered by many of the pilots that compete at the Great Texas Balloon Race to be the best run event on the circuit, the Great Texas Balloon Race earned Longview the official designation as "The Balloon Capital of Texas" by the Governor of Texas in 1985.

In 2013 Gregg County was proclaimed "The Balloon Race Capital of Texas" by the 83rd Texas Legislature.

Balloon Flights begin the National event on Tuesday morning with a flight over the City of Longview and continue each morning through Sunday over Kilgore, Longview and East Texas Regional Airport. Launch and landing sites change each day as they are always determined by wind and the weather.

Balloon Glows on Friday and Saturday night entertain crowds with an awesome display of color and excitement. One of the most popular things to do at the event as the public is able to get up close and watch how balloons are inflated and operate.

Live Concerts featuring Cody Canada & The Departed on Friday night and Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers on Saturday night.

Kids Land is a safe restricted area for children that requires a small separate entry fee. Activities and attractions differ from year to year but it is always a fun time.

Vendors display their arts, crafts and other merchandise in booths lined up along an improvised midway.

Food Vendors make sure there is always enough to eat and drink during the day and evening.

To learn more about the festival, click here.


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