Major events are usually a learning experience not only for those hosting them, but also for those attending. And the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was no exception. Although as first-timers we are by no means experts, we learned a lot about planning, options for RV camping, getting around the Balloon Fiesta Park and the area around it, and crewing. Below are some tips for Balloon Fiesta that we hope will be helpful to others planning to attend in the future.
We had a fabulous time during the first half of the week at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and were looking forward to crewing and participating in the rest of the event. The theme this year was “Spirit of the Winds”.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday didn’t have Mass Ascensions scheduled but there were still lots of balloons on the field. The rest of the balloonists were preparing for various competitions, many of which give away prizes, including cash. The balloons that take off from the field are the ones not competing, and they need to clear the field early so that the staff can set up the targets for the competing balloons to aim for. Continue reading
Since living in Denver, we’ve visited New Mexico many times and grown to love it. And for many years we saw photos of balloons over Albuquerque and talked about attending the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, but the timing never quite worked.
Then last year while visiting Quartzsite, Arizona, we met some of the Boomers, one of the special interest groups within the Escapees, an RV club, who have traveled to Balloon Fiesta for the past nine years. So I contacted the coordinator of the Boomers’ Balloon Fiesta group for 2014 and signed up.
But I also found out that they don’t just attend the event, a bunch of them volunteer to crew for the balloon pilots, many of whom travel from other cities and countries and need crew to help them set up, chase the balloon and then break down. So we too volunteered to crew.