Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2009

Diana, Harry and Noel headed out Friday afternoon for the final weekend of the world's largest balloon launch. Saturday morning we saw on local TV (as we got ready to continue to Albuquerque from our Raton, NM motel) a fantastic launch of over 500 balloons, including a special shape balloon we'd not seen or heard of before this - Darth Vader! The weather was clear and dry, if chilly, and we continued with great enthusiasm toward Albuquerque. The "Magic Glow" was scheduled for that Saturday evening so we had a fun afternoon hiking Petroglyph National Monument on the north edge of Albuquerque. It was clear, calm and mid-70's and we saw over 200 'glyphs.

View from our motel of hill about Raton

Entry to vistor center at Petroglyph National Monument

map of the area

Description of the canyon we hiked

One of several 'glyphs along the pathway

Diana and Harry climbing the side of the volcano

view from top to the valcano toward Sandia Peak (Fiesta Park is near it's base)

View toward downtown Albuquerque

bird on one of the lava rocks

trail choice to top of the volcano

looking down the trail to the parking area

example of the layers of bubbly lava in the lava rocks

Then the wind picked up . . . we arrived at Fiesta Park about 6p, just as they started to inflate several dozen balloons to participate in the evenings "Magic Glow". Soon after, however, they had to be deflated because of winds in excess of 10mph. They did, thankfully, move up the evenings fireworks to 715p. They were pretty good ones. We got back to the hotel early and well rested to get up at 430a Sunday for the "Grand Ascension".

entry to Fiesta Park

some of the balloons inflating for the Magic Glow

A final balloon "in glow"

The Humpty Dumpty balloon deflating with a "candle" nearby

closer look . . .

crowd waiting for fireworks while some "candles" entertain

more candles across the fields

Diana and Noel with the field behind

again - without flash

The trailer for one of the special balloons

just before the Cow Balloon is put away

"folding" the cow up

closing fireworks

Very nice finale

Sunday's weather was again clear, crisp and too WINDY! We went to the park with thousands of other hopeful spectators but no attempt to launch was made that morning. A very anti-climactic end to what we otherwise a great fiesta week. We missed it . . . On the bright side we did find a Squished Penny Machine and enjoyed a trip with Harry before he leaves for Iowa and Americorp training.

The entry to Fiesta Park before sunrise

Our favorite breakfast on the field! Mini-Donuts!

Diana admiring some jewelry in one of the art tents

Example of extented flags along the field

view along the merchant row

The balloon museum

Squished Penny Machine found by Diana!

Squished offerings . . .