Tribute Flights
 Sept. 17-20, 2020


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Lift Up St. Louis

While we cannot gather as we usually would in Forest Park this September, The Great Forest Park Balloon Race is committed to bringing smiles and uplifting stories to St. Louis through challenging times.


Lift Up St. Louis will focus on the following:

Tribute Flights

Hot air balloons will fill the skies Sept. 17-20 in honor of essential workers, educators, healthcare heroes and those standing up for change. We will post on social media (especially real-time on Twitter @gfpballoonrace) with updates throughout the weekend on where in St. Louis you will be able to look up and see beautiful balloon soaring by! NOTE: there will not be an official event or gathering and flights will take place in multiple locations around the greater St. Louis area each day - not all from Forest Park. 

Meet the Honorees

The GFPBR is working with its partners and sponsors to select 8-10 honorees to be featured as part of Lift Up St. Louis - these honorees will be representative of larger groups of people working so hard everyday to keep our lives as normal as possible:

  • Essential Workers

  • Educators

  • Healthcare Heroes

  • Those Standing Up for Change

We want to hear from you, St. Louis!
See below for details about how you can give tribute to special people and places in your life who help lift YOU up! 

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Our planning and pilot team is getting very excited to fill
the St. Louis skies with hot air balloons Sept. 17-20. 
We know this is new for 2020 and you likely have some questions about
what to expect. Read on for details about this new twist on a beloved tradition.

Above all (pun intended): be sure to follow us here and on
Twitter @gfpballoonrace for real-time updates about where to look up! 


  1. Are the Great Forest Park Balloon Race and Glow happening next weekend?
    The Great Forest Park Balloon Race, the largest and longest-running balloon festival in the Midwest, has been canceled for 2020. While the festival will not proceed as originally planned, hot air balloon fans will still have the opportunity to see balloons soar over St. Louis in September. “We encourage the community to take heart because our team is determined to take to the skies, bring smiles and Lift Up St. Louis,” said Jessica Stegen, director of communications and event production for The Great Forest Park Balloon Race (GFPBR).

    With the new theme, Lift Up St. Louis, GFPBR, its dedicated local pilots and generous sponsors are hard at work on plans to surprise and delight St. Louis with colorful hot air balloons flying from various locations throughout the Greater St. Louis area. These tribute flights will honor essential workers, educators, healthcare heroes and those standing up for change, and will take place Sept. 17−20.


  2. Where can I expect to see the balloons fly?
    Our GFPBR planning team has been hard at work selecting and getting approval for launch locations throughout St. Louis City and St. Louis County. We will be launching groups of balloons from several locations around the area simultaneously. All flights will be weather permitting. Because of COVID-19 exact  launch locations will not be announced – HOWEVER, you can follow us on Twitter @gfpballoonrace or and here on our website for real-time updates each day as we take to the skies. General locations for where see hot air balloons flying in the sky will be announced as soon as we know the balloons are Up Up and Away! We also plan to have GFPBR team members streaming live on social media while soaring overhead. 


  3. Will all of the balloons be launching from Central Fields in Forest Park like they normally do?
    Several groups of hot air balloons will be in the skies over various parts of St. Louis City and County each day.
    We want to bring smiles to as many St. Louisans as we can and love to see where the winds take us and wave along the way! (See FAQ #2 for details)


  4. What time should we expect to see hot air balloons during the tribute weekend (Sept. 17-20)?
    Watch us on Fox 2/KPLR 11 early Thursday morning, Sept. 17th with Tim Ezell to kick off the weekend! After that you can expect to hear from us/ see hot air balloons (weather permitting of course) each morning between 6 and 8 A.M. and again in the afternoon between 4 and 6 P.M. These times statistically hold the most ideal wind conditions for our pilots to take to the skies.


  5. Tribute flights? What does that mean, exactly?
    The Great Forest Park Balloon Race has a wonderful history of bringing St. Louis together, and we want to preserve that tradition in 2020 by committing to Lift Up St. Louis. We are joining together with our presenting sponsor, PNC, and all of our generous partners to recognize and applaud the countless individuals, organizations and industries that have helped lift up our community ― and that continue to be a source of courage and inspiration as our city presses on toward recovery. We hope these flights will help us all look to the future with hope.


  6. How can I participate/ how can I honor someone in my life who lifts me up?
    We’d love to hear above who Lifts YOU up!! It can be a nurse, grocery bagger, delivery person, family member or dear friend… maybe its even the pet you adopted during quarantine! Share a photo and shout out on your Facebook page with the hashtag #LiftUpSTL! In doing so you can also help The Urban League of St. Louis – an organization dedicated to lifting up St. Louis year-round. For every post (Twitter, Facebook and Twitter) using #LiftUpSTL, GFPBR’s presenting sponsor PNC Bank will donate $25 to the Urban League – up to a total of $25,000!

    The donations will benefit the Urban League’s Food/School Supply Giveaway Days, as well as Head Start/Early Start and early childhood education programs that serve children from birth to age 5 ― programs that are critically needed to combat the disruptions in learning that children have experienced due to COVID-19.


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