Last October found us at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta once again. Rob’s sister, Mary Beth, and her husband, Jim, came down so we were able to experience it with them, and we had a wonderful time. Unfortunately, we were not quite as lucky this time around as we had been in the past. We went to two sessions, one evening and one morning. At the evening session, the wind was too strong and no balloons were able to inflate. We missed out on the night glow, but we did get to see some parachuters, the laser light show, and an incredible fireworks display.
At the morning session, lots of balloons were allowed to inflate, but none could take off, so we were not able to see the mass ascension. Normally the Canon balloon takes off first with the American flag while they play the National Anthem, but this year it was unable to do so. Instead, pilots all around the field lit their propane in what I heard was called a candlestick display. It was quite amazing and the first time we had ever seen it done. Balloons then filled all around the field and it was absolutely beautiful. I missed watching the mass ascension, but it was still wonderful to be able to share the experience with Jim and Mary Beth.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is probably my favorite event here in New Mexico. For two weeks each October, hot air balloons fill the sky with amazing color. Each morning they have a laser light show and balloon glow, followed by the mass ascension. In the evening, there are laser light shows and other fun events, like the Special Shapes Glowdeo. We have not attended an evening event, mostly because the morning mass ascension is so spectacular.
This year we were invited to be a part of the Chase Crew for Smokey the Bear! Monday morning we got up at o-dark-thirty and made our way to Albuquerque. The weather was not as cooperative as we would have liked it to be, so the balloons did not get going as early as they did last year when we attended. There are so many balloons that each one has a window for inflating and launch. If you cannot make your window, you make way for the next balloon. Well, as it turned out, it was too windy for Smokey, so we did not get to help set him up or chase him, but we had a really good time anyway.
Once the sun began to come up, there were balloons inflating every where we looked. After a cold morning, it warmed up nicely and balloons began to fill the sky. Any disappointment about not being able to help with Smokey quickly disappeared. I took about a million pictures as we ooh-ed and aah-ed our way around the balloon field. I am not normally a morning person, but this event is definitely worth getting up at 2am for!
Waiting for the winds to calm so we could help inflate Smokey the Bear. Dawn Patrol is getting ready in the background.
The twins sharing a moment
Chase vehicles for Smokey the Bear. The firetruck was really fun (and super cold!) to ride in!
It wasn’t quite the hot air balloon, but they were able to inflate a smaller Smokey out by the Balloon Museum.
I arrived home from vacation the day before the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta started, so rather than coming straight home, my family met me in Albuquerque, where we spent the night. We wanted to make sure we were at the park in time for the morning balloon glow. So at 3am we climbed out of bed and made our way over to Balloon Fiesta Park. I had gone to the Fiesta back when I was in grade school, but I do not remember it. I do, however, think that it had some lasting effect on me, though, because I have loved hot air balloons for as long as I can remember. So this was our chance, not only for me to refresh my memory, but to also share it with my family for the very first time.
And it was amazing! Absolutely. Amazing.
PS – No matter how hard you try, it is impossible to stop taking pictures of balloons when you are surrounded by them!