Oct 08, 2018

Saturday, Oct. 6 ~ Day 1 of the Balloon Fest

We were up before dawn at 4:30AM and on the field by 5:15AM.  We took the shuttle as we knew we would be walking for several hours ( turned out to be 5 hours ).  It was still dark when we arrived and the initial balloons involved in the Dawn Patrol Show were getting organized.  It was very cool out.  I had on long pants and three upper layers, two of which included fleece, plus a scarf, gloves and ears muffs.  I even wore socks inside my opened toed walking sandals.  We met up with Rochelle and Micheal unexpectedly and chatted for a bit.  It wasn’t long before we got separated, swallowed up in the crowds.  It was all I could do to keep up with Colin as he quickly moved to whatever caught his eye.  My only problem was that as we walked along the grassy field my socks got wet as did my shoes and my feet were cold.  Had we stayed on the paved perimeters this would not have happened nor would we have got the shots we did.  After about 90 minutes I realized that the tips of all my fingers were numb but when the sun came up, it all changed.  The different light really made the balloons pop 🙄
It turned out to be the perfect day.  There was barely a breeze and the launched balloons hovered above our heads rather than moving away and out of sight.  Some balloons were able to take advantage of the air currents and do a loop around the field.  Later several of them would eventually land back onto the field, a rare event.
The first few shots are of the Dawn Patrol Show.

You can see the moon upper right.

As part of the opening ceremonies two balloons ascended as the National Anthem is sung.  Both of the balloons had the flag hanging from the baskets.  Once the anthem was finished, all of the other balloons and those yet not inflated ( center and right ) blasted their burners in salute.  The colors in the foreground are of a balloon waiting to be inflated.

The ascension begins.

I used to collect penguins.  When we got married Colin said he thought I walked like a penguin.  Then the penguin gifts arrived from him, friends and my parents.  My gloves were now off and I had traded my ear muffs for my sunhat.

Do pigs fly?

This big puppy was so cute.  His tail is touching his back pocket which has a white bone sticking out of it.  Note how tiny the basket is, room only for the pilot and one passenger.

Lifting out of a cushion of balloons.  Where am I?

The popular Wells Fargo ‘Cent’r Stage’ on the left.  It weighs 1,445 pounds, uses 128,000 cubic feet of air, is 100 feet from wheel to wheel and is 90 feet tall.  It has the capacity of one rider and the pilot but requires a crew of 25 people.  Neither the Wells stagecoach nor the policeman on the right lifted off as the winds had shifted slightly and there would be no place for them to land in that direction.

Yoda was the only one of the two who got to fly that day.

Vincent van Gogh, from the Netherlands.

Once we got back to the RV just after 10AM, we ate and rested a bit ( my back was sore ).  We decided that we needed to carry a fold up chair with us to watch the evening events including the fireworks so we headed out and found some for $5.97 at Walmart.   A good price for something we would not normally use.   We also picked up some Italian wine and a few groceries.  Back to the RV to work on the blog I posted yesterday.

The evening festivities were to start with the Twilight Twinkle Glow at 6PM which baffled me as sunset was not until 6:45PM and it was not dark until after 7PM.  Perhaps they were to start inflating the balloons at 6PM 😕  A Laser Light Show was to start at 7:45 followed by the AfterGlow Fireworks Show at 8PM.  However all balloons had to be off the field before the fireworks could start.

Definitely windy.

However it was extremely windy and it took forever for the powers that be to decide that there would not be a Twilight Twinkle Glow, but that there would still be the laser and fireworks shows.  Micheal called us from the field ( they had gone in early to check out the vendors ) and they were heading back to their RV as nothing was happening.  We waited until 7PM and with no further cancellations headed to the area behind the Balloon Museum where we would be somewhat sheltered from the wind and have a view of the entire field and the entertainment.

Sitting bundled up in our new chairs waiting and waiting.

Finally about 8:20PM the show started.  The Laser Show had been cancelled as well as some sky divers that we knew nothing about.

We had been told that these were New Mexico’s most impressive fireworks.  They were okay but no oohs and ahhs from the audience nor from me.  It was a very short show.

Back to the RV, showers and bed as we had to do it all again the next day.


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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Saturday, Oct. 6 ~ Day 1 of the Balloon Fest”

  1. Dolores says:

    Those pictures are SO great!!!
    We gave balloons over Bend, BUT only maybe 8 balloons, which was fun to see…. This was beyond WOW….

  2. Steve says:

    Tell Colin great job on all the photos of the balloons. I’ve seen past blogs from people that attended the festival but they never captured the event like you two did. I’ve sent your blog post to my old college friend telling him we should keep this event in mind for a future road trip.

  3. old pete says:


  4. George Yates says:

    Awesome pictures, sure looks like a fun event, love all these balloons .

  5. SandyM says:

    Loved the photos especially Smoky the Bear peeking between the balloons. This event is so fantastic. About the early morning coolness – you are in high desert and the elevation is about a mile high. We enjoyed a side trip up Sandia Peak Tramway for a great view of the city near sunset – awesome. Really cold up there!

  6. Rae says:

    Loving these posts about your balloonfest adventures. Such pretty colours!

Leave a Reply to Steve