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.