CNM Students Share Their Favorite Balloon Fiesta Experiences

Story and Photos by Hilary Broman

Staff Reporter

Albuquerque is home to the largest ballooning event in the world and the most photographed event on earth according the Balloon Fiesta media officials.

This week the 45th annual Balloon Fiesta came to a close.

The balloon fiesta is a local tradition according to Emilio Martinez, a CNM nursing major.

Some local CNM students, balloon crew workers, and spectators shared their favorite parts of the Balloon Fiesta.

Hundreds of balloons rise with the sun during the mass ascension event.

“Nothing beats getting up super early, hitting Starbucks before the sun comes up and witnessing hundreds of balloons taking to the skies,” Cody Johnson, a CNM business and psychology major said.

The sound of the flames inflating the balloons is one Johnson’s, favorite parts of the Balloon Fiesta, he said.
Father, Carlos and son, Jayden, take a selfie together as the hot air balloons inflate behind them.

Ricardo Baca, a recent CNM Aviation Maintenance graduate, recalls his first balloon fiesta experience, “I was 6 years old. I saw the sonic hedgehog and I told my mom; ‘Damn, he’s humongous, I bet I could beat the game with that sonic.’ I got in trouble and I only got my hot chocolate because it was cold. It was still a fun day though.”

Wendy Lyons captures an image of a hot air balloon before it takes flight.
Special shape balloon takes flight over the balloon fiesta crowd.
A balloon from Taiwan ignites and warms the crowd.

“My favorite is the balloon glow,” Baca said. “I enjoy watching all of the shapes and colors while having a cold beer.”

This special shape balloon comes from Belgium.

Francine Stewart, who has been on the Belgium bear balloon crew since 2001 said, “The best part about crewing is being able to meet so many new people from all around the world. Every day is an adventure. My balloon crew has become more than friends to me, they are family!”

Popular special shape Yoda balloon looks down at the crowd that surrounds him.
The many colors of the hot air balloons represent this year’s Desert Kaleidoscope theme.
The Acoma Rain dancer’s performance drew a large crowd on Sunday, October 2nd during the mass ascension event.
A group of friends gather to take a picture during the second to last mass ascension at the 2016 balloon fiesta.

“My favorite part of the balloon fiesta would have to be walking around eating a Blake’s burrito with hot chocolate and enjoying the company I’m with,” Martinez said. For anyone who has not been to the balloon fiesta Martinez recommends to dress warm, bring friends and family and get a breakfast burrito.

A spectator watches as the first balloon stands up on the second to last day of the 2016 balloon fiesta after waiting for over an hour for the whether to become safe for the balloons to go up.
The first balloon takes flight during the mass ascension on Saturday, October 8th.






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