Longview is LITT
This past weekend, Longview-ites and Texans across the state gathered at East Texas Regional Airport for the world-famous balloon glow.This year marks the 40th year of the Annual Great Texas Balloon Race. Longview skies are lit thanks to balloonists and a small army of volunteers helping crew balloons and working behind the scenes to ensure a smooth run.
I remember the first time I experienced “the glow”. I moved to Longview in 2003, and quickly learned if it didn’t glow, it wasn’t Longview. Being a bit skeptical of the hype and kinda feeling that this “glow” was overrated, I packed up the family and we headed to East Texas Regional Airport. The look of utter amazement on my kiddos faces led me back year after year. The glowing skies matched the atmosphere, and was nothing shy of breathtaking for any first timer.
According to Longview News Journal, this year the race features 10 pilots from Longview and surrounding areas. This number made up 20% of this year’s competitors. Needless to say, the glow has grown quite a bit since its beginning in 1978 in the south parking lot of the Longview Mall. To advertise Longview Mall’s opening, founder, Dr. Bill Bussey, draped a Longview Mall banner on his hot air balloon and flew over Longview. He says the balloon glow became an instant success and all modifications made to balloon events across the world can be credited to Longview, Texas, where it all began. Last year, Bussey was inducted into the United States Ballooning Hall of Fame. One of many much deserved accolades for putting the Longview, Texas Glow on the map.
And let’s just say, perhaps you’re not too into hot air balloons? Go out and enjoy delicious East Texas cuisine from local food venders and/or delight in the sounds of local artists and just let your sooooooooul glow!