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Balloon Fiesta 2007

Tomorrow is the official start of the 2007 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF), and will go on for the next 9 days. For those of you who are not in the know, the AIBF is the world’s largest gathering of hot air balloons and is the most photographed event in the world.

Tonight the news said that the AIBF is expecting over 800,000 people to visit over the next 9 days. That means about 100,000 people every day will visit the balloon fiesta. Now my guess is that 35% of these people come from out of town, which is about 280,000 people. Now the City of Albuquerque metro area has a estimated population of about 820,000 people. So for the next 9 days, the population of Albuquerque will grow by about 35% to just around 1 million people.

Now our transportation infrastructure has its own issues with just our normal population, let alone another 280,000 people (which is just my guess, but I would have to say that my guess is low). So for the next 9 days, my travel time to work and school will be longer then normal and I will have to allow more time to get to school and work. Heck, today, in the middle of the day coming into the office from school, the freeway was in total grid-lock, and not because there was a crash or anything like that.

So ya, its Balloon Fiesta time. But you know what? I would not trade it for the world. It is a big money maker for the city & state, and is just a beauty to look at and I am always looking forward to it every year. Now just like the last few year, I am crewing again. So that means I will be getting up at 4am'ish both days of both weekends. We will be on the field around 5:30am and the first wave starts to take off at 7am.

So if you happen to be on the fiesta field, come find me. I will be at S5 until our balloon takes off both weekends. Also, I will try and take some good pictures and post them from my phone for all of you to see.

Comments

( 4 People Thought — Tell Me What You Think )
billeyler
Oct. 27th, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)
From what I read, the infrastructure didn't hold up to the masses of people there on the weekends and the Thursday Special Shapes events. I didn't hear how the busses fared, but I read a couple of articles about people trying to get there by car.

Happily, we saw some balloons over the house on a couple of days, and our out of friends didn't have any trouble getting in the first weekend.

And on to next year!
claystorm
Oct. 28th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)
Ya, heard much of the same accounts, but would not know first hand since I crew with a bunch of friends. We just pull right into crew parking and then walk onto the field. Or if I catch a ride with one of our pilots, then we just roll right on to the field straight to our launch spot.

From what I can tell, the problem is that too much has been built on what used to be parking, including the new Balloon Musium (SP?) and those little league fields. All of that took away a hell of a lot of parking.

O well, anyway like you said, "On to next year!"
billeyler
Oct. 28th, 2007 05:07 am (UTC)
My scrinchy-faced reply to that is that I crewed a couple of times for someone I dated in 1994 that owned a balloon...but I never went up! (heaving large sigh)
claystorm
Oct. 28th, 2007 06:02 am (UTC)
Im sorry that you never got to go up. To be up in a balloon is just amazing. I hope you get a chance to go up sometime.
( 4 People Thought — Tell Me What You Think )

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Kevin Murray

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