Balloon Extravaganza! is what I would call it, but in Albuquerque, they call it the Balloon Fiesta. It’s a momentus event lasting from one weekend to the next in October. There’s a whole ritual to the balloon fiesta which makes me feel a lot like a kid on Christmas eve. First, we rise at 4 am so that we can get to the site before sunrise. In the pre-dawn darkness, bundled in warm clothes and jackets, we watch and wait for the scout balloons to go up first to make sure the weather conditions are acceptable for the ascension. When the first balloons inflate and expel bursts of fire before lift off, everyone cheers as they lift off the ground. Once the go ahead is given, hundreds of balloons laying flat and lifeless begin to inflate and transform into what they are meant to be–balloons, bees, animals, houses, sharks, and spiderman. We cheer, ooh and aah, gasp, and cheer some more. This happens over and over for about 100 balloons. To give you a better taste of the experience, here are some photos I took at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2011.
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