Winds stop Sunday’s Fiesta launch, glow a success

Winds stop Fiesta launch, glow a success

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Sunday’s Balloon Fiesta mass ascension didn’t go quite as planned as windy weather meant no mass ascension, and some pilots even struggled to put their balloons on display on the ground. After a couple hours at the field, some people wondered if anything would happen at all.

“We have been waiting and waiting for so long,” said 5-year-old Rosa Marsh-Martinez.

Fiesta fans like Marsh-Martinez were left biding their time while weather delayed all the action.

“I am waiting for the balloons to go up,” she said.

The theme at balloon fiesta this year is “Spirit of the Winds,” and the winds were a little too spirited for the pilots Sunday. Event organizers ended up canceling the ascension due to safety concerns, but said pilots could blow up their balloons and keep them on the ground.

“It is unfortunate we are not going to be able to fly right now,” said Jack Ponticelli, pilot of the Carolina Kaleidoscope balloon.

Even by the time the sun came up, no balloons dotted the skies, and that’s when pilots started prepping to show them off from the ground though.

That was good news for long-time Fiesta visitors like 5-year-old Mikka Curtis, who has been going since she was six-weeks old. There is one balloon she looks forward to each year.

“Spider pig! Spider pig!” she sang while showing off her Spider-Man hat.

Curtis’ mom volunteers as a launch director, making sure everyone stays safe while balloons get ready to go up.

“It is something that has been in the family. My stepfather is actually a launch director as well. My sister was,” Kat Brennan said. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my October.”

Even on a day like Sunday where things didn’t go quite as planned, families made the most of it.

The windy weather also caused a small delay at the evening glow, but the balloons did inflate for a beautiful show. Hundreds of the balloons were able to light up the Balloon Fiesta Park.

Some say it was not as crowded as they expected, and it was likely because of the wind. Those who did make it said they were thrilled to have gotten that chance to experience the glow up close and personal.

Approximately 550 pilots are taking part in this year’s Balloon Fiesta, which runs until Oct. 12. The event draws tens of thousands of spectators from around the world. Organizers say the atmosphere is unlike any other with few boundaries for attendees. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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