Just got back from the South West Caskateer Get Together~ what a fantabulous time! This is what I had packed to take with me, and hadn't even thought about my clothes yet! We held the gathering in Placitas, just outside of Albuquerque and only about 30 miles from Santa Fe, NM. Of coarse I had to stop by Todos Santos in Santa Fe for some chocolates on the way, and then it was up before the crack of dawn to go to the 44th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. I have one word to describe that morning..... AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!
I took the West side Park & Ride from the Intel parking lot and got to the Balloon Grounds around 4.45 am. It was still pitch dark, but quite a lively small amount of people at that time. You can see main street in front of the arch there~ where they had all sorts of souvenir and craft booths, as well as food food and more food. I finally learned what Krispy Kreme donuts were...not because I ate one, but because I thought it was coffee for some weird reason and was quickly informed it was not! ha
The field is a huge huge expanse of grass, laid out in grid form with paved streets in between for the balloonists to find their spots easily. One simply ambles around in and amongst the balloons the entire time they are preparing to take off and land! Its an amazing experience. It was the first time I have been to Fiesta so I was just wandering around in the dark and picked a set of folks to watch~ turns I ended up between two of the most popular special shape balloons there! As the balloonists arrive they first test their huge burners~ I could feel the heat from them even where I was standing.
A special treat of going to the Mass Ascension very early in the morning, is to get to see the Dawn Patrol pilots take off in the dark. Not only is it spectacular to see, but this gives the other pilots a reference to see the wind currents, and if the Dawn Patrol gets to take off, usually the rest are good to go for flying that day. The event is strictly regulated and if the winds are above 7 mph or conditions not right, they are not allowed to take off ~for safety of coarse. I had never seen a hot air balloon at night before
I had to play with the settings on my camera to try and get a good picture, as I was taking a video in the other hand for the children to see~ it was actually still pitch dark in this picture above. The balloons look like huge twinkling fireflies as they float gently up and around, it really was special to see!
One of my favorites!
To start the day officially, the Fiesta balloon rises with the American flag as the National Anthem is plays~ a que to get ready, because then things really take off!
The Lady's Repository Museum is a privately owned museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and study of unique early American fashions of both women and children, the later being a specialty.
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