Albuquerque Balloon Festival

by Jessica on October 5, 2010

Balloon day means getting up way before the sun. While we are generally early risers, this is early even for us. We left the hotel at 4:00 am to arrive at Balloon Fiesta Park around 4:30. The weather was crisp, as we followed all the other bleary eyed spectators into the park. We quickly found a seat on the front lines of the balloon launch. The boys enjoyed warm cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate, and then cocooned themselves inside their blankets and went back to sleep in the grass.

We had arrived early to enjoy the pre dawn balloon glow, but windy conditions made that part of the program impossible. Finally, the first balloon launched to report the weather conditions to all the other pilots. Two of the boys woke for the first launch, but Ryan insisted that he wanted to sleep until all the balloons launched.

For the longest time, we could see balloonists pulling up in trailers and stringing out the huge balloons, but we could only sit in anticipation of the launch. Then, just as the sun was rising, the Albuquerque balloon launched to the rousing sounds of the National Anthem.

In an instant, the whole park went from utter silence, to the roaring sounds of launching balloons and a flurry of color.

In every direction, you could see balloons in all stages of launching and liftoff.
The access on the field was not limited to the spectators, so we enjoyed the experience up close and personal. The boys stood almost nose to nose with one balloon as it filled with hot air and lifted. At one point, a balloon began to fill and before we could react it was billowing into the space where we were sitting. Luckily, a stranger grabbed the stroller and pulled it out of the way, so I was the only one that had to scramble out from under the yards of fabric.

These were not just your run of the mill colorful balloons either. There were shapes of every kind in the sky: Darth Vadar, Kissing fish, a Pepsi can, and a Gargoyle. We turned our heads from one side to the other to see every launch and marvel some more at the spectacle.

It was picture perfect as we all stood their together, with our necks craned as high as they could go. Well, that is, everyone but me. My five boys (including Gary) had their eyes pinned on the sky, but the real beauty was in the joy reflected on their faces. And I traveled 1600 miles with cranky children in a car to see beauty, by golly, and I was soaking it all in.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: