Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Celebrates 41st Event

Source: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Inc

World’s Largest Ballooning Event Takes to Skies October 6-14

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta celebrates its 41st event with over 500 hot air balloons representing 19 countries. The 41st event will occur October 6-14, 2012 at Balloon Fiesta Park, in Albuquerque, NM.  The breathtaking mass ascensions featuring two waves of hot air balloons will fill Albuquerque’s morning skies with hundreds of balloons on both weekends and on Wednesday of Balloon Fiesta. Evening events bring dusk to life with Balloon Glows on the opening weekend then Thursday through the second  Saturday of Balloon Fiesta.

Mass Ascensions, a launch of all the participating balloons have been a feature of Balloon Fiesta since its earliest days and is the most spectacular display of sound and color in all of aviation. During mass ascensions, balloons launch in two waves. Launch directors, also known as zebras because of their black-and-white-striped outfits, serve as traffic cops, coordinating the launch so balloons leave the field in a safe and coordinated manner. Weather permitting, balloons begin to launch at about 7:15 AM on mass ascension days, led by a balloon flying the American flag to the strains of The Star Spangled Banner.
Photo courtesy of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Inc.

Opening day at Balloon Fiesta Park will kick off with the Opening Ceremonies, beginning at 6:45 a.m. The 17th America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race, a cross country competition will also help commence the opening day festivities.

Dawn Patrol
On mass ascension days, about a dozen Dawn Patrol balloons perform the Dawn Patrol Show, a choreographed inflation and launch set to music that has been part of the Balloon Fiesta since 1996.
Photo courtesy of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Inc.

The hot air balloon competitive flying starts on Monday of Balloon Fiesta week, with pilots competing to win cash prizes. Competitive flying will continue throughout the week, taking a break on Wednesday for the Flight of the Nations.  The Flight of the Nations will honor the 19 countries participating in the 41st event, as each flies their nation’s flags from their balloon.

Balloon Glow
The sight of balloons lit from within at night like giant holiday ornaments is breathtaking, and glow events are now held all over the world. Balloon Fiesta launched its Balloon Glow the world’s biggest in 1987.
Photo courtesy of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Inc.

A giant butterfly, ice cream cone, a giant elephant and other unique objects are among the 102 special shape balloons that will take to the skies for their own mass ascension and balloon glows on Thursday and Friday at Balloon Fiesta Park.

Click here to view the schedule of events brochure.

Source: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Inc

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