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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

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By Eileen Richardson

I am so excited that October is coming again because one of my favorite events is coming October 4 – 12, 2003. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta!

Every year in October hundreds of hot air and propane balloonists from around the world come to meet up, have fun, and have a little friendly competition. The rest of us come to watch the beautiful spectacles of flight that are these balloons.

It is even possible to get rides on these majestic beauties. You can make arrangements and pay for the ride, or you can sign up as a member of a chase crew that provides you a free ride. The catch is that you ride in the back of a pickup a lot of times bouncing in and out of arroyos, canyons and the desert landscape and assist in holding down the balloon when it lands. The other catch is that these flights start very early in the morning and the crew has to be at the takeoff spot before sunrise.

It is all great fun and you meet some fun people. Balloonists seem to be very party hearty people!
balloons

The Fiesta also has a carnival like atmosphere where food, gifts, t-shirts balloonist’s memorabilia, etc is available. Every night there is musical entertainment as well.

One of the events to catch are the days with a mass ascension where you will see hundreds of balloons of all sorts of colors, themes, and styles take off in the early morning sky. Talk about a photo op!

Balloon Glow is another activity where in the evening the balloonists light their fuel tanks and the balloons glow with color.

There is a gas balloon race that starts at the Fiesta and goes across the county you can watch takeoff.

The competitions between the balloonists are also fun to take in. You will see them compete on accuracy of flying and compete for some great prizes.

Fireworks is also a part of the festivities.

If you want to have a group come down to the park and have a place for them or just keep informed on the fiesta you can become a member of the Gondola Club and get special treatment and information. See the site for this

ww.balloonfiesta.com/Gondola_Club/i_gondolaclub.php

Here is the 2003 Balloon Fiesta Schedule:

2003 Balloon Fiesta Schedule

Saturday, October 4

5:45am - 6:45am Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications at Balloon Fiesta Park
6:45am - 7:00am Opening Ceremonies at Balloon Fiesta Park
7:00am - 9:00am Mass Ascension at Balloon Fiesta Park
6:00pm - 8:45pm America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race presented by Warsteiner Beer and Matheson Tri-Gas, Inc at Balloon Fiesta Park

Sunday, October 5

5:45am - 6:45am Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications at Balloon Fiesta Park
7:00am - 8:00am Mass Ascension at Balloon Fiesta Park
5:45pm - 8:00pm Balloon Glow® presented by Smith's Food & Drug Centers at Balloon Fiesta Park
8:00pm - 9:00pm AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by Albuquerque Journal at Balloon Fiesta Park

Monday, October 6

5:45am - 7:00am Dawn Patrol at Balloon Fiesta Park
7:00am - 11:45am New Mexico Challenge Hot Air Balloon Race at Balloon Fiesta Park

Tuesday, October 7

5:45am - 6:45am Dawn Patrol at Balloon Fiesta Park
7:00am - 11:45am Flying Events - New Mexico Challenge. Blackjack Race presented by Sandia Casino at Balloon Fiesta Park

Wednesday, October 8

5:45am - 7:00am Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications at Balloon Fiesta Park
7:00am - 9:00am Mass Ascension Flight of the Nations presented by Continental Airlines & Hyatt Regency Tamaya Re at Balloon Fiesta Park

Thursday, October 9

5:45am - 7:00am Dawn Patrol at Balloon Fiesta Park
7:00am - 8:00am Wells Fargo Special Shape Mass Ascension at Balloon Fiesta Park
8:00am - 11:45am Flying Events at Balloon Fiesta Park
5:45pm - 8:00pm Wells Fargo Special Shape Glowdeo™ at Balloon Fiesta Park
8:00pm - 9:00pm AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by Albuquerque Journal at Balloon Fiesta Park

Friday, October 10

5:45am - 7:00am Dawn Patrol at Balloon Fiesta Park
7:00am - 9:00am Wells Fargo Special Shape Mass Ascension at Balloon Fiesta Park
8:00am - 12:00pm Ford Key Grab Competition at Balloon Fiesta Park
5:45pm - 8:00pm Wells Fargo Special Shape Glowdeo™ at Balloon Fiesta Park
8:00pm - 10:00pm AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show at Balloon Fiesta Park

Saturday, October 11

5:30am - 7:00am Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications at Balloon Fiesta Park
7:00am - 9:00am Mass Ascension at Balloon Fiesta Park
5:30pm - 8:00pm "Night Magic" Show at Balloon Fiesta Park
8:00pm - 9:00pm AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by Albuquerque Journal at Balloon Fiesta Park

Sunday, October 12

5:45am - 7:00am Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications at Balloon Fiesta Park
7:00am - 9:00am Farewell Mass Ascension - Propane Day presented by Valley Gas & Specialty Equipment at Balloon Fiesta Park

For more information, history and articles about this great event check out the official website for the fiesta:

www.aibf.org

I hope you can check out this unique event this year or another.

Eileen Richardson - from The Santa Fe Site

Book your lodging here.

 

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