Balloon Fiesta kicks off with Albuquerque Aloft event

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Starting Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people will descend on Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta. While events officially kick off Saturday, Friday was all about the kids.

Nearly 70 schools took part in Albuquerque Aloft.

There are not many things that can get kids that excited before sun up, but Friday morning students at Dennis Chavez Elementary got the chance to get up close and personal with the balloons. It’s something kids say is hard to do at Balloon Fiesta with all the crowds.

“Here you can go back and forth to the two balloons and see them very closely,” said a fifth grader.

Balloon Fiesta pilots volunteer to take part in Albuquerque Aloft. For many, it is one of the best parts of Fiesta.

“Dream On” Pilot Tom Kious from Albuquerque says he remembers being a kid and how big of a deal the balloons were to him.

“That’s the greatest thing about balloons. We love to share it with other people and watch the excitement of people. I’ve flown hundreds of times and still when somebody gets excited about it, it’s fun,” Kious said.

The kids agree. “I get to see the balloon blow up and it’s really cool,” said a student.

“I like that you get to see all the balloons and you get to see them fly away,” said another student.

The wind was a bit much for pilots trying to take flight from Dennis Chavez Elementary, but KRQE News 13 camera at the Big I captured a lot of balloons that were able to launch.

“I’m glad we brought so many school kids out at 6:30 in the morning,” Kious said. “Their parents will probably never be able to do that again for another year.”

Albuquerque Aloft has grown tremendously since it started more than 10 years ago.

This is the only Balloon Fiesta related event that launches balloons from outside balloon Fiesta Park.

Click here for more information on Albuquerque Aloft. 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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