By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victor Valley) -– One of the most amazing trips to take during the fall is to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This year was the 40th anniversary of the event that has grown to be the largest international event of its kind, according to festival organizers.
Victorville resident Delci Felix moved to the High Desert from New Mexico many years ago, but had never attended the Balloon Fiesta until this year. “I’ve never been, even though I lived in New Mexico. My cousin works for Southwest airlines and she knew I wanted to go. So she sent me a ticket.”
The hot air balloon party started back in the 1970s with just around a dozen or so balloons. This year organizers of the festival say they have broken their own world record, with more than 550 hot-air balloons, and 345 hot-air balloons that took to the air in one hour Saturday, reported by independent counters.
The launch field is almost 80-acres in size, and over 100,000 onlookers were expected. This is one of the only festivals where visitors are allowed to walk between balloons.
“My friend drove us right onto the field where they launch. When they start going up, it is overwhelming. I didn’t know where to point the camera!” said Felix. “You’re in between all of the balloons and there are so many people. All of a sudden they all just start going up; you don’t know where to look.”
Each year balloon teams from around the world participate in the event and news coverage originates from more than 50 countries. It has become the most photographed event in the world, according to organizers.
One of the favorite events during the festival is “The Glow” at dawn or dusk, which is not only beautiful, but is the best time to take balloon photos. According to festival organizers, dawn or dusk create beautiful lighting opportunities where the warmth of “Balloon Glow” blends with velvet blue of muted skylight.
“We went to The Glow at night. They just tether the balloons, they don’t go up. The balloons are all on the field, then the order comes ‘1,2,3, GLOW!’ and they all fire up at the same time. It’s really cool looking,” remarked Felix.
The nine day event is held every year during the first week of October. Visit the festival’s website http://www.balloonfiesta.com for information, photos, and more.
See more pictures here: