Special Shape Rodeo at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

On Thursday we left for Balloon Fiesta Park at 4:30 am. Today was the Special Shape Rodeo, where the spotlight was on balloons in the shape of many, many different items. I have heard on TV here there are just over 100 non-hot-air-balloon-shaped balloons.

As always the day started with Dawn Patrol. As we drove into the park we could see all the state flags lining the entrance road were sticking straight out indicating windy conditions, not good for balloons, so we would be watching Dawn Patrol to see if we were going to see a launch or not.

Thursday is Kids Day. The kids are off school for Native American Day here in New Mexico on October 10 and 11 this year (called Columbus Day elsewhere in the country). There were a lot of kids on the field with their parents. Also I saw a few groups of high school kids.

The balloons never did lift off but many did inflate and stay tethered. Our guide told us that the Balloon Festival pays balloonist for the cost of propane to at least inflate and stay tethered if the weather is too bad to fly. It started with one or two balloons laid out on the field and suddenly I was surrounded by rising balloons and many, many people. But it was a pleasant crowd, no pushing or shoving, not really much noise. It seemed most people, like me, were just mesmerized by it all.

In the photos above look for: Yoda, Darth Vader, black sheep, Bimbo Bread baker (Bimbo is a major bread supplier in Costa Rica – its like Wonder here), flip flop balloon, owl (2 different ones), kola, large penguin, two baby penguins, pink unicorn, Sylvester, Tweety, two other cats, a green dragon, a purple dragon, The Bees (family of three), pirate, dog on four legs, several dogs faces, fish (2 different ones), parrot, smiling clown, frowning clown, scarecrow, pink elephant, stork with baby, smiley imogee, tourist penguin with camera, donkey, aviator squirrel (?), When Pigs Fly, seal, heart, cowboy, Wells Fargo Wagon (sponsor for today), smiling sun, polar bear, the people eater, teapot, beaver, Willy policeman, Humpty Dumpy, lady bug & Papa Smurf.

Each balloon has a trading card representing it that the crew members pass out to kids. Kids (and some adults) collect and trade those.