ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The 43rd Spirit of the Balloons Fiesta launched with great weather on a clear day.
Around 100,000 people filled the park to watch for their favorite balloons – and some new surprises.
“You know it’s fall when it’s finally time for the balloons to come up,” said Albuquerque resident Glenn Wilcox. “I come out when I have friends in town and it makes it that makes it that much more special to have them witness it and see it.”
On Saturday, some old favorites came to life.
“Having a special shape balloon, you’re a larger-than-life, animated balloon. People love to come out, they love to see the shapes,” said Bob Romaneschi, pilot of the butterfly balloon. “We love to be part of that excitement.”
The excitement was building for the launch of Airabelle, the Creamland Dairy Cow.
“She was up and she fought a good fight, but then she had to come down, I guess,” said spectator Julie Miller.
The direction of the winds was not quite right for one of the largest balloons of the Fiesta.
“Airabelle is so heavy and such a big balloon. When we’re going to the east, southeast direction, there’s nowhere for it to land,” said Danny Maez, assistant crew chief for Airabelle.
Airabelle, like so many others, will be back. This is only day one.
Balloon Fiesta officials say everyone launched and landed safely Saturday.