The Great Texas Balloon Race attracts the very best competitive pilots from the United States and across the world. Many consider it to be the best run event on the hot air balloon circuit which has earned Longview the official designation as “The Balloon Capital of Texas” by the Governor of Texas in 1985. Balloon Flights begin with a flight over the City of Longview and continue each morning over surrounding counties. Balloon Glows on Friday and Saturday night entertain crowds with an awesome display of color and excitement. One of the most popular things for the public to do at the event is to watch how balloons are inflated and operate.
Flowers are a big a draw in East Texas. While flowers such as azaleas and dogwood blooms are expected by visitors to the region, one of the area's biggest attractions is a flower that comes as a surprise to be found in such great numbers in Texas - the rose. The East Texas town of Tyler claims the title of Rose Capital of the Nation. It is estimated one-half of the rose bushes found in the United States are packaged and shipped from this area. Tyler's amazing rose garden, which blooms from March until the first frost each year, features 40,000 rose bushes representing 500 varieties of roses. Tyler also hosts an annual Rose Festival each October and is home to the Rose Museum.