Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fiesta 2013

For nine days balloon fiesta magic overtakes city and suburbs alike in Albuquerque.

You might expect a lone balloon here or there in rolling countryside or open fields, but you can’t deny the fairytale whimsy when masses of them fill the sky and float down amidst morning commuter traffic and tightly spaced houses. We were guessing at balloon shapes on neighborhood walks and driving to soccer as balloons landed on either side of the highway. But even more than the fairyland balloons mixed with downtown offices and rugged mountain skylines, this year was extra-special because Auntie C came to visit! She’s a pro at keeping the natives in line,

Finding the coolest balloons to point out,

And sweet sister chats on the field.

This was our second Fiesta visit, and we’re still fine-tuning our spectating strategy. We stuck with our stroller plan, which seems the only safe way to keep kids close in a crowd of thousands on a huge dark field. And we found that by getting out earlier (leaving the house around 4:30-4:45 I think) we beat the traffic backups and then sipped coffee in the parking lot and strolled out to see the dawn patrol as it ascended in the dark.

Next year we hope to catch a special shapes glow-deo and/or ascension because many of the beloved shaped balloons like Snow White, Darth Vader, and the scuba diver were missing when we went. Still, there was no shortage of splendor as swirls of color floated up into the rising sun’s soft rays.

This year, with one-year-older kids, we were able to stay for the fireworks after the glow and the balloon landings after the ascension. Did you know that anyone can just run over to a landing balloon and grab the basket handles to help it come down? We weren’t so bold as to attempt assisting, but the bumping landings made for quite a show.

My new favorite balloon was this one - nothing flashy but Colleen and I liked the happy but peaceful scene and the crisp colors.

Eleanor and I were still partial to the girly pink and red hearts one as well, and the bumblebees with their hand-in-hand ascension.

Now the countdown has begun to next year’s fiesta. Perhaps for 2014 we’ll expand our experience by scoping out some vantage points along the river trails or chasing landing balloons with the car. I still feel no need to ride in the fragile crafts, but what fun it is to watch them soar!

* For more pics click here, and to read about last year’s Fiesta click here.

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