Maryville University gets sneak peek of Forest Park Balloon Race entrants

ST. LOUIS – Maryville University students got a pleasant surprise Thursday afternoon with a sneak peak of the Great Forest Park Balloon Race.

Now in its 46th year, the Forest Park tradition is kicking things off at Maryville University for the first time ever. It was the best-kept campus secret this afternoon.

Students received a campus-wide text to explain what was taking shape outside the Donius University Center. For the first time ever on the Maryville campus, a collection of balloons began to gather.

It was a test run for some pilots ahead of Friday’s Balloon Glow and Saturday’s Race.

So if you see some balloons hanging up in the air around the west St. Louis County and Town & Country area, they’re practicing for Friday and Saturday.

“It is a big surprise we don’t get hot air balloons on our campus every day,” said Marcia Sullivan, vice president of marketing and communications for Maryville University. “Maryville is proud to be a Great Forest Park Balloon Race sponsor. This event today on our campus is a way to celebrate the kick off of this weekend’s festival.”

“We are so excited to be at Maryville University kicking off the weekend. Our pilots are coming in from all across the United States and they cannot wait to get in the air,” said Jessica Stegen, director of communications and field production for the Great Forest Park Balloon Race. “Maryville is a great location to give everyone a preview of what it’s going to be like being around the balloons for the glow on Friday night in the race on Saturday.”