Hot Air Balloon Inflation, posted 2012-08-27

Balloons – As autumn approaches I always look forward to the ballooning season.  This photo shows one of the more picturesque portions of any balloon event – inflating the balloon and heating up the air inside.  One of my favorite trips, although I don’t get to go as often as I would like, is to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  This roughly ten day event is filled with different ballooning related activities, morning and evening.

Most days begin with the “Dawn Patrol”, a dozen or so balloons that inflate before the break of day and then at the first light take off to check wind and weather conditions at Balloon Fiesta Park.  Many days end late at night with a fireworks show after an evening balloon glow.  For those who have not been to this event, the first time seeing well over 500 hot air balloons of all sizes and shapes can be overwhelming.

One of the great things about the event in Albuquerque is the ability of visitors to actually get out and walk among the balloons as they are being prepared and even during the launch sequence.  About the only time that visitors are not permitted on the balloon field is during some of the competition events when safety may be of concern.

For those interested in things other than the balloons, there are other activities as well  including shopping and excellent food alternatives.  There are also the normal tourist attractions in both Albuquerque and nearby Santa Fe.

Of course the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque is not the only fall ballooning event.  We have our own balloon event here in St. Louis.  While on a much smaller scale than the Albuquerque event (and much shorter at one evening and the following day), it is also much closer and more convenient.  If there is a balloon event in your area, or if you can make a trip to a large event like the one in Albuquerque, I encourage you to attend.  Photo opportunities abound and the bright colors are hard to find elsewhere.

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