Colorado/Albuquerque trip: Day 4, Balloon Fiesta!!

Finally our first day of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta dawned.

We’d initially followed advice and bought a shuttle bus pass (via the Fiesta website) for the previous evening, only to be rain and winded out and to not need it.

Since we were not attending the morning session on a weekend day (for which I would 100% take their shuttle), we ended up driving in. Very early. It’s definitely not an event you can roll up for at 7am and expect to park. Traffic can be bad. But it was not bad at all going early, and our hotel was close-by. So no problems driving or parking, so we ended up not doing the shuttle bus. I heard it was jam packed on Saturday, so I would definitely do the shuttle on the weekend.

Dawn Patrol was about 6:30, I think – we aimed to be there by 5:30. Mercifully we were still on Eastern time so it wasn’t that bad.

We were afraid we’d get no balloons again, but it turned out ok! The breeze was still pretty stiff, so the balloons traveled fairly quickly overhead and out of view. But it was pretty spectacular, even if it wasn’t a mass ascension, I felt like we got close to that because nothing got to fly the day before, they had a lot of balloons there that took off in the same period of time.

We had a stroller and had zero issues with it. But again, we were not there on a Saturday.

The food pickings weren’t that exciting but there was food available. There were tons of booths of souvenirs and crafts (some of the artisan stuff was amazing! It was in one of the big tents), and NASA was also there.

I have video clips of our experience, which I strung together here. It was truly amazing that you could walk amongst the balloons and they’d be taking off right next to you. If we ever go back, I definitely want to do a balloon flight! The below is from Monday’s morning session. I have another video for Tuesday. (Which will go in that blog post!)

I took SO many pictures. These are some highlights.

Dawn patrol:

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Balloons started inflating!

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Yoda!

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This Vader was amazing and I got some video of him taking off overhead.

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I also have cow footage in the video above!

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The wind carried the balloons towards this parking lot.

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Later in the morning, the balloons starting flying in (rather than inflating and taking off from the field) and landing, or just flying by. There were contests going on – some of them were about dropping something onto a target. It was amazing to see the balloons coming through.

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I like this eclipse photo!

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This view shows the field in front of us, with the booths off to the left. You can see now many balloons were left uninflected. Instead, they were coming in from the far left, over the field.

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And that was day 1 of the Fiesta for us!

I love this photo. Doug bought Elena a stuffed balloon.

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Next post will be our afternoon in Albuquerque!