Forest Park Balloon Race

Forest Park Balloon Race

We didn’t go to the balloon glow on Friday night, because of Covid fears and we didn’t go to the balloon race on Saturday, because it was too hot, but this year the balloon race came to us instead. It has only done this once before. The Forest Park balloon race is done in the hare and the hound style, which is more a test of navigational skill than speed. The hare balloon launches first and then fifteen minutes later the hounds launch in a mass start. After the hare balloon lands, winning is determined by which hound balloon drops its bean bag marker closest to the target that the hare has set out. According to the paper, this year the Schnucks sponsored balloon won. The hare balloon traveled due west from the park, landing in Ladue, north of the highway. The hound balloons that flew over our neighborhood had already been heading west-south-west from the park, but then veered south-west-south just before they would have passed directly over our house. By this time Anne and I were already walking around the neighborhood, looking up. Joanie soon joined us. Most of the balloons were quite low, making sighting them difficult among the trees, but enough of them passed overhead close enough to us get a few good shots of them. Most of the balloons landed south of the highway, putting them way out of contention in the race. As they crossed the highway, often extremely low, their spectacle caused a huge traffic jam on Highway 40. About this time sirens from the nearby police/fire station could be heard starting up. I suspect that the interstate’s gaper block had been accompanied by an auto accident or two. Returning home, I watched a portion of a Facebook Live post that was shot from one of the balloons as it overflew the highway. It was looking down on a trio of other balloons that were quite low, directly above the jammed highway, about a semi’s length in altitude. It looked like they were going to try to land on the old A. B. Green ballfield that adjoins the south side of the highway. Earlier, I had been near there on an overpass, but returned home to alert Anne instead.

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