The U.S. Bank Derby Festival Great Balloon Race® is one of Louisville's favorite family traditions. When the Balloons lift off, it provides spectators young and old with an exhilarating view of boundless colors and shapes. Click here to view a history of the Great Balloon Race.
How it works
The Great Balloon Race follows a combination of a "Declared Goal" and the traditional ballooning game of "Hare and Hound" race format. The U.S. Bank balloon leads the action as "the Hare". As any good hound would do, the other balloons spawn an aerial chase of the Hare, launching in a planned sequence minutes after the Hare.
The winds determine where the balloons fly. The Hare Balloon flies until it finds a suitable spot preferably in a vacant field. It lands and lays out a large fabric "X" as the target. In hot pursuit, the Hounds try to drop a small bag of Kentucky Bluegrass seed as close to the "X" as possible, all without landing. Race officials then measure the distance between the target and the bag of grass seed at the target zone and calculate points.