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Up, Up and Away!

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The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a known throughout the world and serves as a destination for kids of all ages. For over three decades, the first week in October brings the smell of roasting chiles and the mystical, magical moving picture show of hot air balloons sailing silently through the crisp fall air of New Mexico.

Interlude has planned a wonderful escorted vacation itinerary throughout scenic New Mexico, but for me, the Balloon Fiesta is the topping on this delicious pie.  Long an entry on my personal “bucket list”, I know you will remember this experience forever.   If you have an opportunity to assist in the launching of a balloon – do it!!   First-hand experiences like these don’t happen every day. You will be spending two days on the site and I urge you to savor every opportunity presented to you.

Typically the weather in the morning is around 40°F, warming up to about 70°F by noon. Bring a jacket and dress in layers. Also remember to wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring sunscreen to put on after the sun is up. You will be at a high altitude and are at risk for sunburn. Bring appropriate eye protection. Sun and wind need to be dealt with on a bright, sunny or windy day. For further weather information, visit www.balloonfiesta.com.

What exactly can you expect at Fiesta Glow?  Imagine being awed and amazed and deeply touched by the breathtaking sight of hundreds of balloons lit from within at night like giant holiday ornaments.  When all the balloons fire their burners and light up at the same time, it is one of the most spectacular single moments in all of Balloon Fiesta.  You must be there to hear the thrilling roar of hundreds of burners simultaneously igniting, turning the Park into a huge lighted Christmas tree of colorful balloons.

During the Mass Ascensions, a launch of all the participating balloons, the balloons are led by a balloon flying the American flag to the strains of The Star Spangled Banner.   If watching the Blue Angels fly over the Speedway before the 500 gives you goose bumps – be prepared, this will too.  It is simply the most spectacular display of sound and color in all of aviation. With over 600 balloons, it is the largest ballooning event on earth, the most photographed event on earth, and the largest annual international event held in the United States; and you can a be a part of it.

Picture 54 football fields, all put together. That’s the size of Balloon Fiesta Park’s 78-acre launch field!  As guests, you’ll walk the field and be part of all the action. You’ll have the chance to meet and talk to the pilots, the zebras (officials) and ballooning enthusiasts. Just the thought of joining hundreds of thousands of smiling, upturned faces, awestruck by the spectacular beauty of hot air balloons filling the big blue New Mexico sky should make you want to call Interlude right now. What you can’t feel until you are actually there is the massive joy surrounding you.  It is truly a remarkable experience.  I close this blog with the traditional balloonist’s prayer:

May the winds welcome you with softness.
May the sun bless you with its warm hands.
May you fly so high and so well that God
joins you in laughter and sets you gently
back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.

Our upcoming balloon festival tour has a lot more to it than the world’s most spectacular ballooning event!

New Mexico and the Balloon Fiesta (click here for itinerary)

Eadie, Interlude Blog Team

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