Well what can I say about the fiesta that hasn’t already been said in the decades this festival has been in existence? The answer? Not much, I only can say what I experienced and saw during my time on the field today.
Let me regale you with my story…
The morning started long before the dawn began to break over the horizon. This morning was a special morning for us which is why we were up a little earlier than usual. Before coming down to New Mexico we found out that our family won a contest for a free hot air balloon ride! So we had to be on the field crazy early in the morning to ensure we were present after the pilot briefing in case there was an issue with the weather and wind conditions to go aloft. We woke at about 5:15 am so we could be picked up by 5:45am sharp…Ouch! It is mornings like this that I am thankful I am no longer in the Navy because the stupid early mornings were the first thing to go!
Arriving on the field was a little disorienting at first, because we were being pushed through floods of people filtering into the field but you couldn’t see anything but booths, people and darkness. There are small markers on the field where the balloons are designated to set up, so we had to keep our eyes out for P1 for the “Cream Land” balloon and Moo Crew! It didn’t take us long to find it since we had the family with us who knew the layout of the field way better than we did, once we arrived we checked in with the crew to get a better idea of what our timeline looked like (because most of us were hungry and I have been hearing about the legendary breakfast burritos for months now) so we could get food, coffee and get more of a lay of the land. We were also waiting on the green light to launch balloons because apparently it was questionable weather so they didn’t know if the balloons were going to launch or not today.
Once we got the green flag the field erupted! It was like the pilots and crew all were trying to be the first ones off the field so every crew was rushing to inflate their envelops (which is the inflated portion of the hot air balloon, I learned today). Colors were popping up in every direction! It was one of the most exciting moments on this trip thus far, it was exactly what I was dreaming it would be and nothing at the same time. I have only seen photos on a calendar since we have been talking about going to the fiesta and those photos couldn’t prepare me for what I saw on the field for the first time.
Every color combination you could think of was inflating on the field and the view from the ground was astounding! And being able to have the insider privileges with Peter and Eric going up in a balloon I was able to get an angle of the inflation process I wouldn’t have gotten had we just come to visit the fiesta!
It took about an hour for the balloons to all inflate and get off the ground and there were a few of the special shape balloons that weren’t allowed to take off since the weather conditions weren’t great for them but to still see them inflate was quite the sight to see! Once the ride for Peter and Eric was over the crew came back and provided lunch for us, rib-eye steaks, baked potatoes, garlic bread and cupcakes!
I was told later that this is not how fiesta normally works…there is crappy parking, terrible traffic, you get shoved out of every photo you are trying to take by the mass crowds, awful lines for food and coffee and all around just a madhouse. Then I was informed that I may bring first time luck since we not only were able to be there to take a ride in a hot air balloon that came with a parking pass and behind the scenes lunch with the crew. I don’t know if that is true or not but I’ll take it!
Traveling Photographer Out!