The Great Balloon Fiesta Of Albuquerque
Waking up at 4:00 AM on a Sunday is not one of my favorite pastimes, but this time I am looking forward to it. The Balloon Fiesta is in town and hot air balloons from all over the world are here to create a wonderful spectacle. Every year in October, Albuquerque is host to this amazing collection of hot air balloons. Balloons of all different shapes and colors will be lifting off at sunrise and it is a spectacular sight to behold.
It is imperative to leave your house before 5:00 AM so you can beat most of the traffic and get a good viewing spot. Fortunately, the line of cars flowed smoothly into the park and we were able to get a parking spot close to the front entrance. As we walked through the gates, we could see the rows of balloons off in the distance. I walked down the carefully organized rows trying to find the perfect spot where I could watch them all take off at once.
As the break of dawn slowly approached, the crews carefully unrolled the balloons. The flames from the tanks that filled the balloons were lighting up the dark sky in unison. The balloons slowly expanded and revealed their unique designs and shapes. There were wagons, fish, bumble bees, houses, and even beer mug shaped balloons.
As the first rays of dawn peeked over the horizon, the crews climbed into the hot air balloons and waited for the signal to lift off. People jostled about and snapped pictures furiously. No one seemed to mind the cold early morning temperatures as the anticipation seemed to build. The officials ran down each row and gave the lift off signal to each balloon. It is an incredible sight to see hundreds of hot air balloons lift off into the morning sky. People ran back and forth between rows trying to get as many pictures as possible.
Wave after wave of balloons slowly floated away through the sky. They were taking a journey to wherever the wind would take them. Riding in a hot air balloon can sometimes be dangerous. The wind can change suddenly and hot air balloons have crashed directly on the streets of Albuquerque in the past. A few people have been killed in recent years from violent landings, but this year has been free from tragic episodes.
As the last few balloons faded into the distance, the attention was turned to other activities. The Balloon Fiesta also has many displays and activities such as music, car shows, and wood carving exhibitions. As the people slowly filed back to the cars, we all seemed to share the common goal of going home and reviewing the spectacular pictures that we took that morning.