Saturday, April 18, 2020


The biggest collection of hot air balloons in the world congregates in Albuquerque, New Mexico! In October over 500 hot air balloons compete to be the best, the wildest and the most amusing shapes imaginable. It is a must see!

One of the best times I've had recently was attending the International Balloon Fiesta last October. My best friends and travel buddies, Kay and Tom, who live in Albuquerque, invited my family and I to stay with them for a few days during the festival. Now, I can't stress just how big of a deal this was! Hotel rooms for this event are booked months in advance as well as airline tickets etc., and the cost of going can get very prohibitive.  So, this was a dream experience for us especially for my daughter-in-law, Pam, a passionate balloon enthusiast, who thought she would never be able to afford to go. True angels, Kay and Tom provided not only first class accommodations (they have a lovely home) rides and meals, but the pleasure of their company so that we could enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

The festival takes place in Balloon Fiesta Park, located in the north side of Albuquerque with hundreds of thousands of people attending so just getting everyone there is a logistical feat of huge proportions! But, the city of Albuquerque has it down to a science, with hundreds of volunteers working together like pros transporting people to and from the event. Every day Kay drove us to a central pickup area in a nearby shopping center. From there we caught one of the hundreds of buses continually going back and forth to Fiesta Park. We bought our tickets in advance on line, which was a huge time saver, but be prepared for the extra time it takes to get there.

The first evening, we walked for miles through hundreds of balloons watching the process of them being unfolded, to the burners slowly filling them with hot air and slowly rising to an upright position where they were kept tightly tethered. The wind was too high to release them that night.

The bees are three separate balloons linked together. They were my favorites!

The activities of the Fesitval include a fun event each day and/or evening and as you might imagine it is all a photographers dream! Pam took at least 1,000 pictures and I stopped counting mine. As night falls and the gas flames light them from within, it becomes magical!

As we walked through them, it felt like Christmas; the beauty and cleverness of each balloon was delightful. What a wonderful gift this was to have this experience!

The next morning, we were there to see them lift off!

The view from Kay and Tom's back yard!

The Balloon Museum is nearby and is well worth seeing!

On September 19, 1783 Pilarte De Rozier, a scientist, launched the first hot air balloon called "Aerostat Reveillon". The passengers were a sheep, a duck and a rooster. The balloon stayed in the air for a grand total of 15 minutes before crashing back to the ground.

Daughters Audrey and Pam
Thank you, Pam, for the use of many of your photos!

1 comment:

  1. Now, I can't wait to go! Thanks for this great blog!