Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Sue and I were in New Mexico earlier this month and caught part of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest gathering of hot air balloonists in the world. I’ve always wanted to see this and it was absolutely worth it. Just spectacular. Photos don’t do it justice. You have to be there, walking among the balloons, surrounded by them for as far as the eye can see.

We had originally intended to take in the opening day mass ascension, and we were up at 4:00 a.m. to get out to Fiesta Park in plenty of time for the dawn launching. But by the time our bus arrived at the park, the launch had been canceled due to inclement weather. The forecast for the next morning was worse, so we bagged the second day’s mass ascension only to find out they had launched.

We did catch one of the balloon glows in the evening, in which the balloons are inflated at dusk and lit from inside by bursts of flame. There is a loudspeaker system that periodically counts down so that all–or at least, most–of the balloons light up at the same time. What a sight.

This is something we need to do again.

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