I love autumn anywhere, but here in Albuquerque it is especially magical! Hundreds of thousands of people agree, as they come from around the world to attend the largest hot air balloon event in the world, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
For many people, this event is on their bucket list. And nothing makes me happier than taking someone to the fiesta for the first time and experiencing their pure joy as hundreds of balloons float into the sky just as the sun rises over the Sandia Mountains. The enthusiasm on the field is contagious, you’ll never see a sad face during a mass ascension!
Balloon Fiesta is kind of the unofficial beginning of fall in Albuquerque. The weather is finally cooler, especially in the early mornings on the launch field. It’s time to layer on our cozy sweaters and scarves and celebrate the season with friends. Speaking of celebrating, a favorite ballooning tradition is the ceremony the pilot performs after the flight for his passengers. The Balloonist’s Prayer is recited, followed by a champagne toast!
The winds have welcomed you with softness.
The sun has blessed you with its warm hands.
You have flown so high and so well
that God has joined you in your laughter
and set you gently back again
into the loving arms of Mother Earth.
For those of us blessed to live here, we experience this joy for nine days, as balloons float over the city and land in our parks and parking lots. In fact, as I sit in my design studio, hundreds of balloons float by and I can literally wave to the pilots! I think this could be the friendliest event in the world as well. Ahhhh…..any stress I was feeling just lifted off my shoulders.
May your spirits soar!