Oct 14, 2014

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2014

Our first Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has come and gone, and it was a bit of a disappointment for us.

If you are not familiar with the Balloon Fiesta, it is an annual hot air balloon event that takes place in Albuquerque. The Balloon Fiesta first took place in 1972 and is now the largest hot air balloon event in the world. It also has the distinction of being the most photographed event in the world and is one of the major tourist attractions for the city of Albuquerque.

We decided to go to the morning session on the second day of the festival, which was Sunday, October 5, 2014.

We left for the Park N Ride lot at around 4:45 am and arrived at Balloon Fiesta Park around 5:30 am. After arriving, we walked around the vendor area for quite a while, waiting for the action to start. Since it was so early and cold, we grabbed some hot beverages and purchased breakfast burritos to fill our bellies.

The time set for Dawn Patrol was 5:45 am. This time came and went with nothing happening. We headed down to the field at around 6:30 am, the time for Morning Glow. This time came and went. Still nothing. 

At this point, we saw a few balloon pilots inflate a few regular balloons and let them go into the air. It was obvious that it was far too windy for them to fly. The official festival flag was also yellow and flapping like crazy in the wind.

Balloon Basket Sitting on the Field

The sun finally started coming up and there still was nothing happening. By the time 7 am, the scheduled time for Mass Ascension, rolled around and there still wasn't anything going on, I was ready to throw in the towel. We overheard one of the "zebras," Balloon Fiesta launch directors, say that they would decide by 10 am whether to cancel or not. 10 am! We were in for a long day.

Balloon Fiesta Zebra

Finally at 8 am, after two and a half hours of standing in the cold, the Mass Ascension was cancelled and instead, many of the balloon pilots inflated their balloons for a ground display.

Balloons are finally going up!

This did not last long though, because the winds started to pick up again and the balloons quickly went down at around 8:30 am.

Sleeping Cow

Strong winds, they are. 

Although this is not what we were expecting to see that morning, I am glad we stuck it out until 8 am. Otherwise, it would have been an entirely wasted morning.

We planned on going to the Night Glow on Friday, October 10th, but this was also cancelled due to rain.

Since we both have to work and we had a lot to do during the weekends with our house, we couldn't schedule another good day to visit the Balloon Fiesta. While the days we were able to go to the festival were bad days weather-wise, many of the other days went off without a hitch!

Hopefully, we have better luck next time because I am still waiting to see the amazing sight of hundreds of balloons launching at the same time!

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