Thursday, October 8, 2015

October 3, 2015

An Event I Had Wanted to Attend 
for a LONG Time
Part 1
October 3, 2015

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to attend the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival and the Pasadena, California Rose Parade.  Check one off my list!   This year, we made it to the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque.  A friend of Vickey's told her that they should head to the Festival by 4:00 a.m. to avoid getting caught in traffic and missing the launch of many of the balloons.

We got up at 3:00 and quickly got ready to go and left the house very close to the 4:00 desired time.  The traffic was very heavy and as we got to that area, there were several policemen at each corner directing traffic.  Bob had gotten the tickets at a discount the previous evening when we went to the grocery store.

We got a parking place not too far away and entered the launch area.  We did not know where to go or anything and I started asking people, "Have you been here before?"  EVERY one I asked, said no, it was their first time.  I began to get the feeling that once was enough.  But after being there, I can say I would love to go again.

Vickey struck out across a grassy area where people were setting up chairs they had brought.  She found some picnic tables and quickly saved a bench for us on the front row of tables.  We sat there and watched the activities and then took turns going shopping at places near the entrance or leaving to look around.  The first scheduled activity was the 6:00 a.m. Dawm Patrol Launch.  For this event, 8 balloons with special lighting systems prepared for launch and took off just after 6:00 a.m. in the dark.  The other balloons began preparing for the mass ascension that takes place starting at 7:00.

On the day we were there, the first day of this year's fiesta, approximately 550 balloons launched that morning.  Most carry fuel for about 2 hours, so the flights are basically from 7:00 to 9:00, but not all launch at the same time.  They launch in groups in some cases and in waves in other.
We watched from our front row seats for a while and then Bob and I decided to start wandering around down the field while Ron and Vickey stayed put.  The festival operators encourage people to go out on the field and meet the balloonists and maybe even help in the activities.  The balloons are packed in canvas cases about a 3 foot cube.  They are unrolled on the field and then spread out on the grass to start the filling. 
The field from which they launch is 72 acres and that allows for balloons to launch from several different areas of the field at once without being too close to one another.  As the balloons fill with air for their launch they start laid flat out on the ground and then as giant fans are turned on to fill the balloons, they begin to stand up straight and tall.

Bob and I spent almost 2 hours walking among the balloons and the people.  We each took hundreds of photos.

The amazement in the eyes of a child 
The colors, the size, the excitement, all came together to make it a fun place to be.  Mostly the crowd was made up of adults.  There were children there, many in strollers, but for safety, it was not really a place for children to be running loose.  A few were, but for the most part, the children there were staying close to their parents.

At this point, I am going to close this blog and do another entry for the afternoon events.  You will see additional photos at the end of this blog.  There were just so many fun shapes and beautiful colors to see.

Beautiful views from any angle

Entry from Great Brittan



Cartoon Characters

Darth Vader

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