The coming of summer means the skies of Gregg County will soon be filled with hot air balloons and businesses will get much needed tourist dollars.
The 25th annual Great Texas Balloon Race gets underway Thursday, and as always, big crowds are expected. The event brings thousands of visitors and generates thousands of dollars in revenue for local businesses. Hotels and motels are already near capacity, and for many in service oriented businesses, it's a welcomed boom.
Over 80 balloons of all shapes and sizes will be participating in this year's event. The festivities begin on Friday morning with a shape and special shape competition at 6:30 in the morning. The opening ceremonies and evening glow start at 8:15 at night.