View of the Reno Sparks night skyline from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
View of the Reno Sparks night skyline from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
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Washoe County's Rancho San Rafael Park is the site for world-renowned race.
Media Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Nancy Leuenhagen

Reno, Nevada. Sept. 3, 2013. Washoe County, a major in-kind sponsor of the 2013 Great Reno Balloon Race (GRBR), will once again host the world-renowned event at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park Sept. 6-8.

The GRBR is the largest free hot air ballooning event in the world. When it began in 1982 at Rancho San Rafael Park, the race had just 20 entries. Since then, it has grown into a major event and has taken flight with up to 100 balloons each year and an estimated 75,000 people in attendance. As part of its in-kind sponsorship, Washoe County will have a balloon in the competition this year flown by veteran pilot Peggy Watson-Meinke.

 “Rancho San Rafael is one of our premier parks,” said Washoe County Commissioner, District 3, Kitty Jung. “For 32 years it has been the perfect place to host the event and we’re very proud the County can help provide free family fun, particularly when approximately 60 percent of the spectators are local.”

Rancho San Rafael Regional Park encompasses 600 acres just northwest of downtown Reno, and includes grassy fields, wetlands, natural areas, picnic shelters, nature and walking trails, a playground and a huge dog park. Rancho San Rafael Park is also home to the Wilbur D. May Center, which includes the May Museum, May Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and a restored ranch house.

During the balloon races this weekend, spectators can enjoy free admission, art shows, and children’s activities at the Wilbur D. May Museum. The Museum also exhibits all 32 years of the official Great Reno Balloon Race posters which are on display in the gallery. For more information on the museum, contact (775) 785-5961 or visit