April 25, 2015 Louisville, KY.  – The Kentucky Derby Festival is five for five for this year’s U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest.  Near perfect weather conditions and having two balloon races on Friday, allowed the Festival to successfully get in all five ballooning events.

Light winds and overcast skies made for an excellent launch for the 43rd annual U.S. Bank Great Balloon Race, which was moved to Friday evening for the first time in the race’s history. The Festival moved the traditional Saturday Great Balloon Race to Friday evening to avoid today’s rainy weather.  20 of the 26 balloons took off from Bowman Field as hundreds of fans gathered to watch the competition get underway just after 5:30 p.m. Winds took the balloons north toward the Crescent Hill area.

The “Hare” – U.S. Bank Balloon piloted by Scott McClinton – landed on the 7th fairway of the Crescent Hill Golf Course just over 30 minutes after launching.  U.S. Bank landed and laid out a giant “X” for the target.  Three of the “Hound” balloons scored in the second race. Results were announced at the annual U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest Awards Luncheon today.


PLACE                                  BALLOON                                  PILOT                                    DISTANCE

FIRST                                   Curves                                          Joe Zvada                             9  feet 3”

SECOND                               RE/MAX                                    Stuart Enloe                          41 feet 4”

THIRD                                    IMTS                                          Patrick Fogue                       51 feet

An Overall winner of the 2015 U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest was also announced at the luncheon.  Curves, piloted by Joe Zvada and Chase Donner, was named Overall winner based on a combination of points from both Friday and Saturday’s races.  He wins a complimentary entry for Curves in the 2016 U.S. Bank Derby Festival Great BalloonFest.

The U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest kicked off on Thursday with the U.S. Bank Great Balloon Crew Challenge and Glimmer, followed by the U.S. Bank Great Rush Hour Race, Great Balloon Race and Great Balloon Glow on Friday.  A crowd estimated at 68,000 gathered to see the static luminary of the U.S. Bank Great Balloon Glow last night at the Kentucky Exposition Center.  This is only the third time all five balloon events have gotten off the ground.  The BalloonFest is sponsored by U.S. Bank.  Contributing Sponsor is Publishers Printing Company. 102.3 The Max is Media Sponsor of the Rush Hour Race and Great Balloon Race.  New Country Q103.1 is Media Sponsor of the Great Balloon Glow.  WLKY TV is the TV broadcast partner for the Glow.

The Derby Festival balloon events remain one of Louisville’s favorite family traditions.  The race is regarded by pilots as one of the country’s most prestigious balloon events and began in 1973 with nine balloons flying in the inaugural launch from Iroquois Park.

June 21 - June 21