June 18-20, 2021

About this year's Great Texas Balloon Race

Great Texas Balloon Race officials are proceeding with plans for the 2021 event to be held June 18-20. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will be focused on the competition ballooning events that have made GTBR one of the premier ballooning competitions in the country. Approximately 60 top pilots and their beautiful hot air balloons will be flying and competing in the skies over the City of Longview. In addition to the morning competitive flights Friday, Saturday and Sunday, fun flights will be added Friday and Saturday afternoon to enhance the entertainment value for balloon watchers on the ground. There will be no flights or other events this year at the East Texas Regional Airport. 

“Keeping public safety at the forefront of our planning and after careful consideration, the difficult decision has been made to host no public events in 2021,” explained Michelle Ford, the GTBR 2021 Chairman. “Specifically, there will not be any balloon glows, special shape tethers, musical entertainment or our traditional festival activities. Our goal continues to be to bring an exciting experience to our community through world class ballooning competition by the very best pilots.”

Ford went on to say, “It is only because of the strong support of committed sponsors, that our community can look forward to the enjoyment of balloons flying overhead the third weekend of June. We would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to our sponsors who eagerly partnered with us and have already committed to support this year’s event.”

The Great Texas Balloon Race appreciates the continued support of Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt along with the County Commissioners and Mayor Andy Mack as these decisions were being finalized. Great Texas Balloon Race is the oldest annual event in Longview and will return strong with our full event schedule in 2022.


Welcome to the Great Texas Balloon Race

It's a world class event attracting the very best competitive pilots from across the United States and the world.

Considered by many of the pilots that compete at the Great Texas Balloon Race to be the best run event on the circuit, the Great Texas Balloon Race earned Longview the official designation as "The Balloon Capital of Texas" by the Governor of Texas in 1985.

In 2013 Gregg County was proclaimed "The Balloon Race Capital of Texas" by the 83rd Texas Legislature.

Competitive balloon flights are scheduled for the mornings of Friday through Sunday over Longview. Non-competition flights are planned for the afternoons of Friday and Saturday over Longview. Launch and landing sites change each day as they are always determined by wind and the weather.

The Great Texas Balloon Race Story

In 1978, the Great Texas Balloon Race was born from an agreement between Dr. Bill Bussey, D.D.S., a world-record hot air balloon pilot, and Frankie Parson Riggins and Mary LeTourneau, Longview Mall managers.

No live entertainment in 2021

To keep the Great Texas Balloon Race safe this year, we will not have events at the East Texas Regional Airport. However, we will return strong with our full event schedule in 2022.

No ticketed events this year

For the 2021 event, there will be no ticketed events. Balloon flights will take place over Longview on the mornings of June 18 through 20 and in the afternoon on June 18 and 19.

There will be no flights or activities at the East Texas Regional Airport.