Balloon fiesta set for weekend launch

Associated Press
Published: 10/1/2016 10:01:16 PM

The 45th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta begins this weekend and is expected to draw close to a million visitors to central New Mexico.

The 2016 festival will feature more than 500 hot air balloons and 108 special-shaped balloons with pilots from around the world. The theme is “Desert Kaleidoscope.” The fiesta’s morning mass ascensions launch both weekends, and on Wednesday. Other events include the Balloon Glows, Special Shape Rodeo and Music Fiesta.

How and when the balloons launch depends on the weather and pilots will have to take into consideration wind patterns to avoid landing on American Indian land. Balloonists at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will be able to land at Sandia Pueblo after all as the two organizations have reached an agreement, a stark change from the all-out ban previously announced.

The Balloon Fiesta flying competition will begin Monday and continues throughout the week. In addition, the Balloon Federation of America’s U.S. Women’s National Championship will start Saturday.

On Wednesday, the Flight of the Nations will get the mid-week mass ascension started.

Besides balloons in the air, attendees will have the opportunity to try their choice of New Mexican breakfast burritos with green and red chile.

Associated Press

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