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Great Forest Park Balloon Race Events Sept. 16-17

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September 07, 2011
The 2011 Great Forest Park Balloon Race will descend on St. Louis once again Saturday, Sept. 17. This year marks the 20th birthday of the Energizer Bunny, a race staple. The event is free and will take place as always in Forest Park's Central Field.

Beginning at noon on Saturday, the Balloon Race will offer plenty of fun for everyone. The Purina Children's Entertainment area will be filled with pony rides, games and other activities for kids. The entertainment stage will feature a variety of local talent, and concession stands will be available.

During the photo contest, the public can enter the balloon field and take pictures of their favorite balloons. Prizes will be awarded for the best photographs. A skydiving team will also perform and land in the center of the launch field at 3 p.m.

Opening ceremonies start at 3:30 p.m., and the race begins when the 166-foot-tall Energizer Bunny Balloon (15 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty) takes off ahead of the pack. About 70 "hound" balloons then launch in pursuit of the rabbit. The balloon which drops a bag of birdseed closest to the Energizer Bunny Balloon will be declared the winner.

The night before the race, pilots will inflate their balloons for the Balloon Glow, offering spectators a breathtaking view of inflated balloons lighted by their burners. The Balloon Glow will begin at 7 p.m. Sept. 16, and visitors are encouraged to get close and walk around the balloons. The event will conclude with a fireworks finale display about 9 p.m.

In the event of rain, the race will be rescheduled for Sunday, Sept. 18. For more information, visit www.greatforestparkballoonrace.com.

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