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Bidding war results in nearly $10,000 for the Balloon Race




After three months of anticipation, Curt Ainsworth and Stephanie Swartz, who just got engaged on Valentine’s Day, found out they will wed during The Great Reno Balloon Race on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Their winning bid of $9,901 came in at 11:59 p.m. on June 1.

“We placed our first bid when we first heard about it,” Ainsworth said. “But with the value of the package, I was sure someone would outbid me. I didn’t think winning this wedding was even a possibility.”

Ainsworth’s original bid on April 15 was $9,600, which was out bid by another local couple the day of the deadline. The last remaining hours of the auction resulted in a bidding war between the two couples, but a smart bidding strategy ultimately won the package for the lucky couple.

“It’s really exciting – exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time – to think that our wedding is now only a few months away,” Ainsworth, a  Reno native, said of their wedding plans, “I grew up here and went to the Balloon Race every year with my mom and always thought it was so beautiful – the colors and vividness of the balloons.”

Swartz, his bride to be, is thrilled to receive a pre-planned wedding, and has already started dress shopping. They are the first couple to marry at the Balloon Race, which is in its 29th year.

“We went from not having a date, to having the date, place, time and all the details in between,” Swartz said of her September nuptials.

Their exclusive wedding package is provided to the bride and groom by the Weddings of the West Association, and includes a hot-air balloon ride after the ceremony, wedding planner and a choice of two unique honeymoons. The package provides the bridal couple with all of the amenities necessary for a once in a life time dream wedding, including catering, photographers and videographers, florists, a wedding cake and much more.

“I am looking forward to working with them on their upcoming wedding celebration!” Shannon Morse of Weddings by Shannon, the couple’s wedding coordinator, said. “There’s a lot to do, so we’re excited to get the planning process started immediately.”

The final bid of $9,901 nearly matches a major sponsorship, and all proceeds for the Love is in the Air Wedding go to the Balloon Race, a non-profit community event. For more information, please visit www.renoballoon.com, or call the Balloon Race hotline at (775) 826-1181. 

Thanks to the continued support of generous sponsors, The Great Reno Balloon Race continues as a free event for its 29th year. This year’s major sponsors include: Wells Fargo Bank, Wilbur D. May Foundation, Silver Legacy Resort Casino,  Peppermill Hotel Casino, Harrah’s Reno, City of Reno, Jack in the Box, Great Basin Internet Services, News Talk 780 KOH, Bonanza Casino, Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. With a special thanks to our Founding Sponsors: Circus Circus, IGT, Sands Regency Casino Hotel, Muckel Anderson CPAs and the University of Nevada, Reno.

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