Photo courtesy of The Great Forest Park Balloon Race
The Great Forest Park Balloon Race
Every year on the third weekend of September, more than 150,000 people gather for the second oldest hot air balloon event in the United States, The Great Forest Park Balloon Race. Seventy hot-air balloons launch for a Hare and Hounds event from historic Forest Park, in the middle of St. Louis, site of the 1904 World's Fair.
The "hound balloons" fly across the city in an attempt to drop their marker as close as possible to the landing spot of the "hare" balloon, which launches first. Watching these colorful craft fly above the city is truly something to behold. In Forest Park the night before the Race, the Balloon Glow features 70 balloons tethered to the ground and illuminated from within by their burners, which is a spectacular sight.
The Great Forest Park Balloon Race and Glow have become a tradition for four generations of families from St Louis and around the country. All events are free—no entrance, parking or other charges.
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A Great Walk or Ride
Forest Park is a haven for active recreation. Featuring a dual-path system made up of parallel hard and soft surface paths, there are more than five miles of trail to serve those on wheels—or heels. Volunteer and self-guided walking tours are also available.
Opened in 1898, the original asphalt bike path was intended "for all persons riding horses, bicycles, and tricycles." Eventually the limestone-chip walking paths were also added. Though the hard and soft paths diverge in some places (for example they narrow at road crossings and are split by landscaping elsewhere), they generally run parallel, and each is 10 feet wide.