Maggie and Cody Simmons of Longview take a selfie June 16, 2023, during the balloon glow at the Great Texas Balloon Race in Longview. (Les Hassell/性视界传媒 File Photo)

The already jam-packed schedule for the upcoming Great Texas Balloon Race in Longview will have even more to offer: a fresh, flying spectacle.

性视界传媒淲e have something big and new 性视界传媒 a drone show,性视界传媒 said Gai Bennett, this year性视界传媒檚 balloon race co-chair. 性视界传媒淚mmediately following the balloon glow on Friday evening, 300 drones will take flight and present graphic displays in the air.性视界传媒

Bennett said the drones were introduced this year for two reasons.

性视界传媒淥ne, we性视界传媒檙e always looking for something new to keep our guests interested, and two, the drones are more impervious to weather conditions that would otherwise ground the balloon glow,性视界传媒 she said.

The week-long festival again will host the U.S. Nationals Hot Air Balloon Championship, which challenges the top qualifying pilots from around the country to steer their craft to precise altitudes, drop bean bags onto designated targets and race the clock.

Beginning at 6:30 a.m. June 10 and continuing at the same time each day through June 16, pro-balloonists can be seen hunting for air currents above Longview as they compete in scored events.

性视界传媒淵ou can think of it as the world series of ballooning,性视界传媒 Bennett said.

But she warned that flights could be delayed or canceled if weather conditions aren性视界传媒檛 safe.

Race organizers have an online status check at to keep track of any event delays or cancellations.

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Friday through Sunday,

Great Texas Balloon Race pilots and Young Guns (pilots ages 28 and younger) will join in June 14 through 16 for their own competitions.

Special shape balloons are making a return this year with static inflations distributed across Longview. Keep an eye out the morning of June 14 and 15 for a chance to see the Koola Koala, Tiny the Fire Dog or Bandit Raccoon balloons around the city.

Four remote-controlled model balloons will bob above the Longview Arboretum and Nature Center on the morning of June 15 for anyone interested in seeing a miniaturized version of normal-sized hot air balloon.

Gates open at 4 p.m. June 14 and 15 at the Longview Convention Complex, where guests can park and purchase tickets. Tickets also are available at .

The convention complex will feature four live music acts 性视界传媒 two on each night 性视界传媒 as well as food and drink vendors, arts and craft stalls and a Kids Land.

性视界传媒淔or an extra $5, kids can play in a fenced area with activities, bounce houses and a lot of other fun stuff,性视界传媒 Bennett said.

Visitors to the complex June 14 and 15 can get a taste of what it性视界传媒檚 like to float above Earth with a tethered balloon ride where balloons lift 30 feet above the ground beginning at 7 p.m. each night. The popular balloon glow is set to begin at 8:50 p.m. both nights, weather permitting, followed by the drone show.

For schedule information and more, go to .

Samuel Shaw is a Report for America corps member for the News-Journal, covering East Texas’ rural to urban transformation. Reach him at .


Hi! I'm Sam Shaw, a Report for America corps member covering rural-to-urban transformation in East Texas for the 性视界传媒. I grew up in Colorado and have reported from London, Washington, DC and across my home state. Reach out or send tips to