Every year, St. Louis hosts the Great Forest Park Balloon Race. Balloonists come from all over the country to compete. In years past, the balloons were spread out on one of the open fields in the park. The evening before the race, competing teams make certain their balloons are ready by setting up their equipment and inflating their balloons. As the flames inflate the multi-colored balloons in the twilight, their colors pop out from the darkness. This is the Balloon Glow.
This year, the Balloon Glow was moved to "Art Hill", a graceful hill sloping from the Art Museum down to the lake.
This grouped all the balloons in a relatively small space, creating a spectacular view.
Every five minutes or so, a loud horn would sound, telling the balloon crews to fire their gas jets, illuminating all the balloons simultaneously.
The balloons come in all different colors and patterns. Some are sponsored by companies, others are privately owned.
With the light breeze, the balloons want to fly. It takes a lot of family and friends to keep them on the ground.
Turnout for the Glow is always quite good. The emcee estimated the crowd to be between 30,000 and "a gazillion" people. (This didn't include pets brought by some people.)
The St. Louis Art Museum is beautiful at night. The building was originally built for the 1904 World's Fair, held that year in St. Louis.
The statue of St. Louis watched over the event. From the top of Art Hill, atop the pedestal and his horse, he had the best view of the Glow.
After about two hours, the balloonists began packing up their equipment. One-by-one, the balloons gradually fell.
The balloons are deflated and packed, ready for the race on Saturday.