ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The first day of the 44th Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was extra special for an 85-year-old woman who finally took her first balloon ride.
“It’s beautiful, the colors and all,” Jean Jorgensen said of Fiesta.
Jorgensen loves attending the nine-day event. She’s been doing it on and off for the past four decades, going back to when Fiesta first took flight.
“It was at the fairgrounds here in Albuquerque right in town,” she said, “And there were maybe seven or eight balloons and that was so exciting because we’d never seen them that close before.”
Ever since then, she’s gone to as many as possible.
“I know that it’s been at least a dozen or two,” she said.
She says she’s enjoyed watching Fiesta grow over the years with new balloons new events.
“I love the balloon glow at night, that’s very pretty, too,” she said.
You’d assume a gal who loves Fiesta this much has been up in a balloon many times, but you’d be wrong.
When we asked Jorgensen if she’s flown in a balloon, she said “No, I haven’t. I mean, I like to watch them but I’ve never been in one.”
She says she’s never had the opportunity or known someone to go with. But on Saturday, the first day of Fiesta, that all changed.
“At my age, I’m just kind of nervous about it, I should have done this years ago,” she said before take-off.
Steve Adams, pilot of red, white and blue balloon “Miss B’Haven,” took Jorgensen on the ride she’s always wanted.
“The ride will be fine I’m sure, it’s the landing I’m worried about,” she laughed.
News 13 caught up with Jorgensen after the ride. She called the “once in a lifetime experience” a “wonderful treat” and said the landing wasn’t too bumpy.