Uh oh, she’s back in the wayback machine

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My friend and resident of Albuquerque told me that the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is well nigh….

Yup, starts October 6.

Let’s start with this query…how in the utter $#*&!!! did it get to be October already?

So I was telling my mom I’m considering going to ABQ for the fun and staying with my friend as she lives near the right part of town.

Then I said “of course, anymore it’s a complete pain in the ass to go to the fiesta”

That kicked off a step right into the wayback machine.

She said “yeah, remember how it used to just be in a big empty field and we’d go and get right up close, your dad would talk to the balloonists and before you know it, we’d all be holding a corner of cloth, helping them inflate it? That doesn’t happen anymore.”

No, it sure doesn’t.

Remember when the Balloon Fiesta didn’t have sponsors? It was just a bunch of ballooning guys getting together for some fun and competition.

Remember when they flew out of Cutter Field? Yeah, that flight path used to take them over our house in the northeast heights (somewheres around Montgomery and San Pedro). I used to dash out to the backyard and wave and try to talk to the balloonists. They were always nice, good for a wave at least if they were low enough.

I remember drinking scalding hot chocolate out of that battered green Coleman thermos, trying to warm my hands and frozen nose, bundled up against a cold October morning at like, oh-dark-thirty.

We’d help some guy my dad just met (my dad never met a guy he didn’t know) get his balloon off the ground, then we’d leap into our battered blue and white Chevy Blazer and help chase.

Ya can’t do that anymore. Insurance and progress and all that rot, I suppose.

I also remember when I used to work for Honeywell back in 1993. That’s when the balloons had already moved to their new location, the Balloon Fiesta Park, which is catty corner to Honeywell. It was HELL getting to work, but I’d go inside, get a cup of coffee, then go back outside with all my coworkers and watch the morning show. Special shapes day was always the best.

When it gets to be this time of year when the nights and mornings are cold but the days warm up nicely, I still look to the sky hoping to see ornaments hanging there, listening for the whoosh of propane. The conditions aren’t right here in the Bay Area. Sometimes I sure miss a sky hung with colorful balloons. Nothing like it in the world.

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  • NewMexiKen

    Not to be argumentative, but it’s still possible to help layout and chase. Everyone is still free to wander the field — and those that stand by the edges and just watch or take photos are denying themselves 90% of the fun.

    Though, you’d never get me up in one.

  • Karen Fayeth

    Ken, you are probably right. It’s been a few years since I went, but when I did go, EVERYONE was at the perimeter. It seemed like you weren’t supposed to get up close and personal.

    If you can, then count me wrong. And happy to hear that!

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