Monday, October 15, 2012

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

A good friend of mine drove to New Mexico last week for the Balloon Fiesta.  He's from that neck of the woods, and has been attending this event since it's beginnings in the 1970s.

I'm happy that he is sharing his terrific photos with us!


The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta began as a small gathering of 13 balloons (and, I assume, their attendant humans!) in 1972.  Since then, it has grown to become the largest balloon event in the world.

According to their website, the Fiesta attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every years during the first week in October.

The Fiesta is now a nine-day extravaganza of color and excitement, celebrating the world's oldest aviation sport.  

It was the Montgolfier brothers who invented a style of hot-air balloon and succeeded in launching the first manned balloon ascent in modern history at Annonay, France, in 1783.  Their first attempts at ballooning sent a sheep, a duck and a rooster into the air.  Ah! the French... what can I say? Eh, Bien!  They probably figured if things went badly, they'd have a really great dinner later... 

Thankfully, the odd trio landed safely after covering about 2 miles in the air. 

Etienne Montgolfier was the first human to lift off the earth in a balloon, making a small, tethered flight from wallpaper manufacturer Jean-Baptiste Reveillon's workshop yard. However, the first free flight by humans was made by Pilatre de Rozier, together with an army officer, later that same day close to the Bois de Boulogne in the outskirts of Paris.

These early flights made quite a sensation!

It's amazing to think that less than 200 years later, man would walk on the moon...

As you can see, the Fiesta is a very beautiful, sometimes silly, and highly colorful event...

... attended by LOTS of people.

You can buy tickets to ride in these crazy balloons, but you have to book your ride well in advance of the event, as they are very popular and go fast.
Hey!  An Elvis sighting!  Cool.  I'm all shook up!

The Albuquerque event features not only hot air balloons, but also gas balloons.

Here's a famous gas bag... er balloon:

The Pink Elephant (see the sky to the right of Darth Vader) is apparently there to represent the light side of the Force...
This appears to also be a great event for photographers!

Most of these balloons are made out of the same nylon fabric that parachutes are made of.  They are also quite colorful, and imaginative in design.
P-H-R-O-G!  He's got rhythm and a Ph.D.
Remember that song?
The Fiesta is held every year on the first week of October, so you have plenty of time to plan for next year!

For more information about this event, visit their website at:

Photos: GDLeigh

1 comment:

Marybeth said...

Love the photos! The pink elephant is my favorite.