Balloon Fiesta, occurs every October in the Southwest city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s official name is Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, and is sometimes abbreviated in print as AIBF, but balloonists generally refer to the annual event as simply, “Fiesta.”
The Rosenlofs first attended Fiesta in 2004, bringing their now retired 90 cu. ft. hot air balloon, Voyager, and sharing crew duties with seasoned Fiesta pilot Fred Bookwalter. Being a new balloon on the field, we did not get our pick of the launch spots and were assigned W1, the extreme northwest corner of the field. As the years went on, we began to realize that there were benefits to this spot, and each year thereafter (until we stopped attending in 2011) we requested and received W1.
All three of the Rosenlof balloons (Tango, Voyager, and Happy Hour) flew at Fiesta during different years. We had a great time meeting people from all over the country, including volunteer crew Denise, Debbie, and Roger from Houston, who stayed with us until we stopped attending and then joined Neil Davison’s crew. Since the event occupies the first two weekends of October and the week in between (for a total of 10 days), during the latter years we rented a house for the week and held cookouts for the crew and fellow balloonists at the house.
We generally had a good time, although there were some bumps, bruises, and bruised egos as will happen with any event that goes so long. Currently it’s been difficult to take so much time off of work for Fiesta, but we look forward to returning to the event perhaps in 2018 or thereafter.