One of my favorite events is almost here! The Great Reno Balloon Races! It's such a fun event and has been going on in Reno for 32 years now. We used to go to it annually when I was a kid and of course as we got older we stopped going as much just due to school schedules and sports activities. After I moved to Las Vegas I, of course, didn't go until we moved back to the area. We ended up taking the kids for the first time 2 years ago and it was amazing. There's nothing like looking at something through a child's eyes and seeing the magic and wonder you once felt as a kid. This is how it was for me. Now if you've ever been to this event, you know that most people will park over at UNR and will walk up the very steep hills/streets to get to Rancho San Rafael Park. And if you want to catch the Glow Show and the Dawn Patrol, you have to get there insanely early (5:00am is when the show starts, so you usually have to give yourself at least 30min before to find parking and make the hike into the park). For us, we planned on getting up at 3:00am to get ready, driving across town to pick up my parents then looking for parking and making the hike, all with a 2 year old and a 6 month old. Quite honestly, I thought I was insane and I imagined that I'd have 2 very tired and cranky kids with me. Boy was I in for a great surprise! They slept most of the way to the park and in the stroller. We got there a little later than planned and the balloons had already started the Dawn Patrol. As soon as my oldest saw them in the air, she called out, "Balloons! Balloons! Balloons EVERYWHERE! Look mommy!" It was definitely one of those great mommy moments that brings happy tears to your eyes. Both girls had such a wide-eyed look of wonder on their faces all morning as we sat amongst the balloons. One of the greatest parts about the event is that everyone gathers around in the open field of the park and the balloons and crews are setting up/taking off/landing all around you. With around 100 balloons and 150,000 people, it's quite the site to see. My kids talk about this event all year long and look forward to us waking them up when it's still dark and then seeing all the balloons. I'm not a morning person (in fact, I usually don't go to bed until around 1:00 or 2:00am), but seeing the joy and wonder on my kids faces each year makes that early morning wake up so worth it!
This year I get the privilege of working the event as a vendor and seeing the balloons all 3 days. While I'm not relishing the idea of getting up at 3:00am for 3 days, I am very much looking forward to seeing those balloons, working along side some amazingly talented artists and bringing my kids along with me to enjoy the event for yet another year. If you are local or are planning on visiting Reno, make sure to stop by for this event at least once. I promise you won't be disappointed! And make sure to stop by Crafter's Row to say hi and check out all of the work of our Indie Reno artists!