U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest: Great Balloon Rush-Hour Race

Friday, April 27, 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.

Just 7 balloons flew in the inaugural race from Iroquois Park in 1973.

The Great Balloon Rush-Hour 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.

April 19 - April 29
April 26 - April 27
April 26 - May 4