Saturday, December 28, 2019

Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Balloon fiesta is held for nine days each October. It began in 1972 with one balloon as part of a unrelated event and grew into more than 1,000 balloons. This number had to be limited over time due to expansion of the city and the loss of safe landing areas.

The events start in the very early morning and continue until the winds change, usually in the early afternoon, it then resumes in full force as the winds pick up in the late afternoon and evening.

There are mass ascensions where many balloons take off at roughly the same time, but all begin with the heating of the air inside the envelope (balloon.)

One of the main features of this New Mexico event is what is called the Albuquerque box. Because of the landscape of flat lands and mountain ranges the wind blows in such a way that a Balloonist can take off at one spot, travel along and between the mountains and return to nearly the same spot from which he ascended. This is unusual if not completely unique.

Balloons land in many different places. Locals who are open to them landing on their property spray big red X's to alert the pilots that it is OK to land. Then folks run out and help collapse the envelope, store the whole apparatus and usually take part in a impromptu party after. Balloonists oven carry Champagne and other goodies to break out as a "Thank you" to those who help.

A French team landed right near my friends house and we helped them pack up. One guy on the team (of four, I think) was American and translated for all of us. The team ALWAYS wears these headbands with fake hair and they had an extra for me for this shot! Last time I had this much hair, I was probably a teenager! For those who don't know, I am second from the left.

Next time, on the 2nd, more from Albuquerque and some of the marvelous "shaped" balloons, then, on the 7th back to Vietnam memorials.

To see Vietnam memorials from any state, please click on the state name on the left side of this page.

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