Monday, November 19, 2012

Our first Fiesta

Somehow Erik and I managed to live in Albuquerque for four whole years without ever properly attending her annual Balloon Fiesta. But last month we remedied that and were so smitten by the beauty and excitement of the event that we can’t wait to go back next year. Plus, our new house affords a spectacular overlook of the balloon dotted city to entice us.

The ten-day festival was long enough for Luke and Eleanor to fall into the routine of running to the window each morning to look for balloons. Then we’d take to the driveway in our PJ’s for a closer look, watching to see which way the balloons traveled and where they would land.

Our first official event was the evening balloon glow, during which the balloons all inflate, filling the field with glowing jewels of light. But first Luke fed his need for speed with some rides down the super-slides!

Even more than the Fiesta, my weekend highlight was having Papi in town! We were delighted that my dad’s business trip brought him out our way.

After a little time for sideline attractions, twilight fell and the balloons began to glow, sometimes blinking in unison and swaying in the light breeze.

As it got darker the balloon lighting grew even more surreal, as you twisted and turned through crowds in a forest of glow. {Made much brighter below by Erik’s slow shutter on a tripod.}

The next morning we underestimated the notorious Fiesta traffic a bit, and saw the first of the 500+ balloons ascend from Solveig.

We feared that we might miss much of the spectacle, but thankfully traffic sped up and there were crowds of balloons left to launch when we arrived.

It was chilly, and early, but the kids were mostly enthralled.

The balloon propane tanks flashed flames and whooshed noisily slowly giving form to limp plastic that awoke in wild shapes.

All around us the riot of colors and shapes soared off filling the sky.

There was always a new shape to point out in the sky or puzzle at as it filled on the ground. Here Spidey-Pig and Lion King face off.

And my favorites, the classic bumblebee lovers.

Instead of being kept behind caution tape, the crowds stream freely amidst the balloons. In fact, if you aren’t watching your step you might trip on the anchor ropes held by the ground crew or bump into an inflating balloon.

We didn’t get quite that close because the propane tanks were so noisy, but we did catch a basket photo op.

By mid-morning we were starting to run out of steam, but nonetheless we all left exhilarated. Being so close among the balloons as they filled and sailed away, it felt like we were part of the ascension event, rather than mere spectators. What a blessing to find more and more to love about ABQ each year, even though we do miss being closer to family and friends. Any more visitors for next Fiesta? (:

{More pics here.}

1 comment :

  1. Wow, what an incredible experience! (And gorgeous photos!). Looks like you all had an amazing time!

    Thanks for all the blog posts and photos today -- it was lovely catching up on your family! Much love from the four of us to the four of you!