The Fiesta Streak Ends

My personal streak of consecutive ballooning days at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has come to an end. In 2015, I crewed for Brad Rice and the Hearts A’Fire balloon all nine days of the fiesta. In 2016, we did the same – we went nine for nine. Today is day nine of the 2017 fiesta and we have strong, gusty winds out of the northeast. No balloons inflating this morning – so my streak ends at 26 consecutive balloon fiesta days.

If you want to enjoy the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in person, I have a couple of pieces of advice. First of all, plan to stay for several days. You never know what Mother Nature may throw at the park – balloons require certain weather conditions and they could be grounded if conditions are bad for ballooning. The weather in Albuquerque at this time of year is mostly favorable, but putting your hopes on one particular day may be disappointing.

When you come here, I also advise you to volunteer to crew for a balloon team. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the event and have a greater understanding of what’s going on and hot air balloons in general. Some facets of crewing are hard work and somewhat physical, but there are always chores to be done that don’t require a lot of muscle. Pitch in and you’ll have fun! Besides, you’ll have free admission although you’ll have to be up before the sun.

Rather than give a day-by-day account of this year’s fiesta, I’ll take the lazy way out and post some photos. If you want to read a daily account of the happenings at the fiesta, please check out the archives listed on the right panel of this page for October 2016 and 2015.

Dawn patrol before sun up

Ready for cold inflation at the break of day

Mass ascension

Balloons over the park viewed from the President’s Compound

Competition flying – pilots trying to drop a bean bag on a target at the park – check out the huge sportbike shaped balloon in the lower center

Special shape balloon

Sunset at the park before balloon glow night

Fireworks from our doorstep after the balloon glow

Light winds and lots of balloons over the diversion channel

Neil and Julie Jackson had donuts and cookies made to look like their Flying Circus balloon

Crowd arriving for the Billy Currington concert on Saturday

With the balloon flights cancelled today, we will pull out of here and get a head start on our way to San Diego. We’re paid up through Tuesday, but I have the hitch itch and I’m ready to hit the road. We’ll boondock our way west and should reach Mission Bay RV Resort by mid-day Thursday. I’m really looking forward to some travel and quiet nights away from the city.

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