2012 Balloon Fiesta

After a quick work-related trip to New York City last week, I flew to Albuquerque on Friday afternoon and met John at the airport. Why, you ask?  John and I both flew to Albuquerque to attend the 2012 International Balloon Festival.  I have wanted to attend this event for years and John, even as a native New Mexican, had never attended. For shame! The event spans two weeks and John and I decided that this would be the year that we would drop in for a taste of the ballooning celebration.

The opening balloon launch, however, was cancelled on Saturday due to unfavorable wind conditions. In fact, all ballooning events scheduled during the day were cancelled. We made the best of it by attending a breakfast hosted by one of our mutual friends and attended by lots of folks we know through political and family circles.  We had a really great time.  The weather was cool and crisp and the view from our friend’s home was incredible.  To boot, our host fired up the outdoor grill and stove and prepared made-to-order breakfast burritos and served mimosas.  Green chile and red chile? I die!

After some post-breakfast lounging back at our hotel, John and I decided to venture over to the Owl Café for lunch.  The Owl Cafe is a sister restaurant of the infamous Owl Bar in San Antonio, New Mexico, which is owned by friends of the family. I had a green chile cheeseburger and shared an order of green chile cheese fries with John. Delicious!

Afterwards, we made our way over to the Sandia Peak Tramway. The wait for the Tram was two hours long, so we decided to pass on the ride and just explore the grounds.

We watched college football at our hotel before heading over to Balloon Fiesta Park to attend the evening events.

We caught a few minutes of the Evening Glow event before the winds forced a premature ending. Boo.

We made the best of it by grabbing some dinner from Sadie’s food stall. We ended up with green chile queso and chips, a green chile burrito, a corn dog and some drinks.  We sat in the grass and dined while waiting for the evening fireworks to begin. Good times! We also split a churro and had some hot apple cider.  One of the really fun aspects of the Balloon Fiesta was all of the food stalls serving up Fair classics – hot dogs, corn dogs, cotton candy, fries, fried Twinkies, nachos, sausage on a stick, roasted corn, etc. Even if we didn’t sample everything, taking in the aroma was almost as enjoyable!

The fireworks show was really spectacular and we were both glad we braved the cold to take it all in.

Although the news claimed that the Sunday morning balloon launch was cancelled, the Mass Ascension did take place. Hooray! We didn’t have enough advance warning to make our way down to the launch field, so we decided to watch from our hotel balcony.  It wasn’t the best vantage point, but we were able to watch in our pajamas. Score!

Later, we met John’s Aunt Jean and Uncle Chuck for brunch at the Range Cafe before making our way back to Houston.  The food was fabulous – I will have to make a note to return the next time I am in Albuquerque for work.

Although Mother Nature interfered with our plans for the Balloon Fiesta, we still had a great time in Albuquerque and plan to return to the festival in the future.

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