In 1978 to celebrate the opening of the Longview Mall a local balloon pilot, Dr Bill Bussey, DDS, flew his hot air balloon over the mall with banner advertising the malls opening draped from his balloon. The next year Dr. Bussey and the Mall managers organized the first Great Texas Balloon Race on the anniversary of the malls opening. At the event in 1980, on the mall parking lot Bill Bussey and Bill Stoudt created the first-ever Balloon Glow – witnessing a late night Balloon Glow is a must and should be on everyones bucket list.
In 1990, the Great Texas Balloon Race was moved to the East Texas Regional Airport on the south side of Longview. The airport is still the home of race today.
From its humble beginning as a promotion to advertise a local mall opening, the Great Texas Balloon Race has become a world class event attended by the most competitive pilots from across the US and the world.
The 2014 Great Texas Balloon Race, will be held July 29th through August 3rd. The US National Championships for 2014 are held August 1st through the 3rd. Balloon glows are scheduled both Friday and Saturday nights at 8:55pm. Each evening there is entertainment: Friday night Roger Creager will be performing and Saturday night Tracy Lawrence. Along with balloon races, cool balloon glows, great music – there rides, concessions, and vendor booths.
The Great Texas Balloon Race is a GREAT EVENT for folks of all ages……for more information visit www.greattexasballonrace.com and make plans to attend – DONT FORGET YOUR CAMERA!
In 1967, Jimmy Webb wrote wrote the following lyrics in his song Up, UP, AND AWAY:
The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon – it wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon – We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky. FOR WE CAN FLY – WE CAN FLY!