Return of the Balloon Fiesta

Pictures and Story by

Salvador Zambrano

Staff Reporter/Graphic Designer

2020 was the year COVID-19 began. During the year lots of events were canceled to protect people from outbreaks of the virus. One event affected was The famous Balloon Fiesta. After taking the year off Balloon Fiesta made it’s return for the 2021 season.

Balloon fiesta park was filled with many spectators waiting to see the many balloons take off into the sky. This year 866,414 guests made their way to the park during the 9 day period.

The Balloon fiesta picked up right where it left off with a total of 588 balloons making an appearance this year. 671 pilots also made the trip from around the world for this years event. The Albuquerque community seemed full of life after the return of the Balloon Fiesta.

Turtles Day in the Sun

Story, Photos and Video by

Mark Graven

Wildlife Correspondent

Ducks usually get top billing when it comes to news from the UNM Duck Pond, after all the pond is named for them.

But it is midway through June, and the hot days of summer are upon us.  Most of the hundreds of ducks that occupy the pond at the center of UNM’s campus are gone for vacation in the northern climes.  

The turtles are going nowhere fast, but are happy together on the rocks of the pond, which serve as podiums where they can bask in the glory of the New Mexican sunlight.  

The turtles take advantage of a large grouping of rocks at the west end of the pond to put their sunbathing talents on display.  But they also use a small grouping of rocks near the fountain at the east end of the pond.   

Occasionally, the turtles will go for dip in the water.  With the fountain and a waterfall near the southwest corner of the pond, the turtles have a stunning aquatic environment.  The turtles seem to enjoy swimming to cool down:  sun bathing can be tough work!
Now, please kick back and enjoy our photo display of the turtles today.

Balloon Fiesta 2018 Beckons

By Staci Bostic-Baros, staff reporter

IMG_1307Photo by Hailey Tolleson
Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque was ready this week and quietly anticipating opening festivities Oct. 6.

Fall is officially upon us. For CNM students and staff, that means Balloon Fiesta is right around the corner. With morning and evening mass ascensions and special shapes glows, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta lasts nine days this year. It starts this Saturday, Oct. 6, with the last session on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Park & Ride tickets are a way to save some money and avoid the headache of Balloon Fiesta traffic. At $12 in advance, Park & Ride covers admission and transportation to and from Balloon Fiesta Park, saving $13 over driving yourself. 

This year features a laser light show during the morning glow each morning at 6:30 a.m., followed by the iconic mass ascensions at 7:00 a.m. The mass ascension is a massive launch of all the participating balloons in the morning sessions and is a spectacle of colors, sights and sounds. Special shapes balloon events are set up this year in both morning and evening sessions on Thursday, Oct. 11, and Friday, Oct. 12. Kid’s Day is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11, with special shapes balloons and performances by Fastrax Sky Divers during both sessions.

Balloon glows were first invented in Albuquerque in 1979, after local hot air balloonists inflated their balloons on Christmas Eve as a thank-you to residents. Now known as the Twilight Twinkle Glow, the Night Magic Glow and the Special Shapes Glowdeo, they offer visitors the magical experience of hot air balloons brilliantly lit from within, glowing brightly in the desert night sky. Balloon Glow evenings, followed by huge fireworks displays, are historically among the fiesta’s most popular events. Food, beverages and kid-friendly activities are planned. Music also is scheduled on many evenings, and a Music Fiesta on Saturday, Oct. 13. You can find event schedules, ticket information and more at See you there!

Vortex gets that Motherf**ker with the hat

Photo Provided By: The Vortex Theatre

Actors Ed Chavez and Alicia Lueras Maldonado share an intimate scene during the rehersal shoot.
Actors Ed Chavez and Alicia Lueras Maldonado share an intimate scene during the rehersal shoot.

The gleefully foul-mouthed play, “The Motherf**ker with the Hat,” is coming to Albuquerque for the first time later this month.

“Motherf**ker” will open on March 22 at the Vortex theatre and run for three weekends.

“The play is a chal­lenging, well-writ­ten and very funny examination of the choices we make about love. In many ways a coming of age story, the play is raw, yet deeply familiar and human,” Director Leslee Richards said.

The play is set in a blue-collar Puerto Rican community in New York City and is an intense verbal cage match about love, fidelity and a mis­placed hat, she said.

Elliot Stenzel, who plays antagonist Ralph, said the life-like char­acters struggle with problems that are familiar to most people.

“We all have flaws in our personality and how you manage those throughout life can dictate how well you do,” he said.

The off-putting title and the show itself is a reflection of modern American life, he said.

Efrain Villa, who plays supporting char­acter Julio, said the play will strike a differ­ent chord for everyone because it touches on many topics like fear, loneliness and addiction.

“In many ways this play is about how people can get stuck in really bad cycles and how difficult it is to pull yourself out of that cycle, he said.

The 2011 play was written by Stephen Adly Guirgis and was nominated for six Tony awards. It centers on Jackie, a former drug dealer out on parole, and his relationship with his long-time girlfriend Veronica. When Jackie finds another man’s hat in his girl­friend’s apartment, he is convinced she has been cheating and swears to find the motherf**ker who owns the hat.

There is a content advisory for the per­formance, which is for ages 18 and over.

“The Motherf**ker with the Hat”

Scheduled to run

  • March 22 to April 14,
  • 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
  • 2 p.m. on Sundays.

General admission | $18

Student rush tickets five minutes before the curtain if seats are available | $10

Pay-What-You-Will | Sunday, March 24.

Audience Talkback | Sunday, April 7.