U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest: Great Balloon Charity Race

Thursday, April 26, 2018
7:00 am: Launch


The U.S. Bank Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Race is one of Louisville’s beloved family traditions.  In 2018, the Derby Festival will feature Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning races.  The multi-race docket gives spectators young and old more chances to take in the exhilarating view of boundless colors and shapes.

The Great Balloon Charity Race invites local celebrities to participate and be paired with a participating Balloon in the 2018 Great BalloonFest.  The Celebrity in each balloon will toss a bluegrass seed bag towards the ‘X’.  The Celebrity closest to the ‘X’ will win $1,000 to be donated to their favorite charity; a donation from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation.  The check will be presented to the charity representative at the Balloon Awards Luncheon on Saturday, April 28.

The Great Balloon Charity Race is a Hare & Hound Race. This type of race is when all the balloons launch from the same site (Bowman Field). One balloon takes off first and is the Hare balloon (U.S. Bank Balloon piloted by Scott McClinton). The other balloons are called the Hounds, and they will launch at a predetermined time after the Hare (usually 5 to 10 minutes after). The Hare lands at a suitable site and lays out a large fabric X, usually about 50 feet in diameter. The Hound balloons attempt to drop their markers as close to the center of the X as possible. The closest marker achieves the highest score.