The Fiesta has begun! This weekend saw the kick-off of the 2007 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a celebration that started with 13 balloons in 1972 and has since turned into the largest ballooning event in the world and the self-proclaimed “most photographed event on earth.” The launch field alone is 72 acres—that’s equivalent to 54 football fields! Spectators are free to roam Balloon Fiesta Park—a staggering 365 acres altogether—to talk to the pilots and gawk as the balloons fill and eventually lift off. Among those craning their necks to see this unique spectacle, IgoUgo members try their best to describe what they claim is a sight one must witness to comprehend, and as always, they succeed in convincing us of yet another place to go and another thing to do on our travels.
With nearly 5,000 photos to her credit, it’s no surprise that BawBaw has such a beautiful journal chronicling this event. In her first review of the Fiesta, she describes the setting as “high drama above the New Mexican desert.” And her descriptions don’t stop there: She’s such a fan of this colorful exhibition that she wrote a journal about it dedicated to beginners. Fiesta! A Novice’s Guide to Ballooning also includes some particularly vivid photos from one of IgoUgo’s top photo contributors.
But the Fiesta is not all standing and staring. Those in need of a little adventure can chase the balloons that are scattered by the wind, as wanderer 2005 did. Reminding us that “what goes up, must come down,” she recommends following a balloon as it returns to earth, since “the balloon crews are more than happy to have people help.” Another alternative is to shell out for a ride in one of the bassinets. Even acrophobic member grimmts had some Fiesta Fun and admits finding it so “serene and safe” that “everyone should save up for a balloon ride!”
In A Spectacular Sight to See, the whole wonder of the event is summed up nicely by tuckeram. Complementing her journal with some breathtaking photos, she concurs that it is difficult to adequately describe the whole sight. “If you have the opportunity to experience it,” she writes, “you’ll understand what I mean.” If and when you do make it to the Fiesta, Andiamo reminds you that while the festival is fun and laid-back, there are a few guidelines. There is no smoking around the balloons: “cigarettes and propane do not mix!” Also, though you are encouraged to roam freely amongst the giant balloons, shoes can damage them while they are being inflated on the ground, so keep your eyes open. Finally, “you will need lots of film for your camera!” Nowadays, you’ll just need an extra memory card, and we’re looking forward to seeing your photos; after all, it is the most photographed event on earth.