Albuquerque Journals

Fiesta! A Novice's Guide to Ballooning

Best of IgoUgo

An October 2004 trip to Albuquerque by BawBaw

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico More Photos
Quote: If you’ve ever wished to savor the thrill of hot-air ballooning, no place on earth is better suited for that experience than Albuquerque, New Mexico. For 10 days each year during early October, balloonists from all over the world gather to celebrate and share their extraordinary sport. It's Fiesta!

Fiesta! A Novice's Guide to Ballooning

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Quote:
The Southwest is a region that knows fiesta like the rest of America knows football and baseball. And of course, the word fiesta (Spanish for festival) has many applications — religious, secular, social, and even culinary. But for 10 days in early October in the city of Albuquerque, fiesta has but a single association — one that coalesces and transcends all other possible meanings into a giant celebration of the art and sport of ballooning. The skies above the desert explode with color, and the merely curious observer is sometimes swept away into a whole new culture, one of risk, camaraderie, trust, and just a hint of excess. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta...Read More

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Mass Ascension"

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Quote:
Mass Ascension is the alpha and omega of the Fiesta experience. It is the grand beginning and the grand finale. It is the event that paints the colors and shapes of all the assembled balloons onto the canvas of the New Mexico sky. It is the phenomenon that made Fiesta grow from a small rally of a few balloonists gathering in the Rio Grande valley into an international spectacle. The onlooker who can witness a Mass Ascension without being awestruck simply has no heart. Mass Ascensions are conducted from Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park, usually beginning around 7am, right after Dawn Patrol. Each ascension occurs in waves, with the general order of flight specified during morning pilot brie...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 13, 2004

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Balloon Fiesta Park
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87113
(505) 821-1000

On Crewing for Fiesta

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Quote:
Every hot-air balloon requires a crew to assist the pilot during launch and recovery activities. Most conventional "round" balloons need five to seven people to manage this process efficiently. Special shape balloons, which tend to be more complex, often require much larger crews, whereas a single-seat "hopper" may need only the pilot and one other crewmember to manage operations on the ground. For novices, crewing is the gateway into active ballooning. During Fiesta 2004, we quite literally took advantage of family relationships to attach ourselves to the crew of the Enchanted, a balloon owned and piloted by Harold Connell of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Our duties were relatively light...Read More

Up and Away! The Joy of Flight

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Quote:
May the winds welcome you with softness.May the sun bless you with his warm hands. May you fly so high and so wellThat God joins you in laughterAnd sets you gently back into the loving arms of Mother Earth. —The Balloonist PrayerDespite the discouragement offered by too many mediocre experiences on commercial airliners, part of my psyche still regards flight as a very special form of magic. So when the crew of the balloon Enchanted selected Himself and Yours Truly to be the gondola passengers for the flight of Wednesday, October 6 (my birthday), it was no small gift—not for us and not for the crew. ...Read More

Fiesta! The Launch Field Tailgate Party

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Fiesta!  Party Time Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Quote:
A working slogan for hot-air ballooning might well be summed up as "Work Hard, Fly High, and Party Hearty." Certainly, that’s how many, if not most balloonists approach their sport. And the party begins early in the day -- immediately after the balloon has been safely landed and packed. That means that alcohol rarely touches the lips of balloonists (or least those who are not designated drivers) before the hour of 9am -- a bit less shocking when you consider that by that time, most crew members have been up and about for five hours. After an impromptu toast (usually beer) to the balloon’s safe landing, the crew gathers itself into the hands of its designated drivers and returns to the launch field, wh...Read More