LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)-- From a glimmer to a glow, it was an evening of bright lights on the lawn of the Kentucky Exposition Center as more than 62,000 people made their way around 31 hot air balloons with their cameras and lawn chairs in hand.
Many arrived hours early on Friday to stake out the perfect resting spot for the Great Balloon Glow, but for many, it was hard to stand still with so much to see.
"This is just so cool. I've never seen anything like it," Shannon Figgins, visiting from Kansas said.
Families from across the country made the trip to Louisville to see this one-of-a-kind balloon event, watching and waiting to be wowed over and over again.
"It's a wonderful family event. I've come several years and we wanted to bring the young ones out this year and enjoy, it's beautiful," Lavada Baker said.
The night before the big race in the sky gave crowds an opportunity to get up close and personal with the pilots of each balloon.
"It's really nice. You don't even need your jackets out here next to the fire," Sharon Kent said.
Turning up the heat only ignited the excitement.
"It's fun, it's pretty and everyone's just having a good time," Kenzie Wilder said.
"She loves it. We do the rides for a couple hours before and we like seeing the balloons at night when they light up," TJ Bryant said, while holding his young daughter.
Saturday morning, the 42nd Great Balloon Race begins. All 31 balloons will lift off at 7 a.m. at Bowman Field.
The original four pilots from Louisville's very first race, in 1973, with take flight first, in honor of the city's more than 40 year tradition.