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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Balloons Drifting, 1996
Kodak Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, 1996 Photo Ferne Saltzman

Kodak Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

In its 29th year, the festival brings hundreds of balloon crews from around the world. From a small gathering of 13 balloons in 1972, the Kodak Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has grown to become the largest balloon event in the world. Held each year during the first week of October, the Balloon Fiesta now attracts more than 900 balloons and 1200 pilots. Attendance at the event now draws more than a million spectator visits a year, and that doesn't include the hundreds of thousands of fans who watch from outside Balloon Fiesta Park and on local, national and international TV. It is estimated that in 1999 more than 25 million still photographs were taken of the Balloon Fiesta, ensuring its title as "the world's most photographed event."

Because of its unique combination of mountain formations and wind characteristics, Albuquerque is considered a great place to do precision flying. The "Albuquerque Box" effect enables pilots to ascend from the field, move with the winds at different altitudes, and even backtrack along their original course.

The Fiesta has grown not only in numbers of balloons and spectators, but in the number of unique events as well. In addition to the spectacular Mass Ascensions, the Balloon Fiesta has added the Key Grab Contest, the Annual Balloon Glow, and the Special Shape Rodeo. Another favorite happening at the Balloon Fiesta does not actually involve ballooning, but the exchange of Balloon Pins. Every year the Balloon Fiesta sponsors a new set of collectable and commemorative pins, which are traded and worn as mementos of each year's Fiesta.

The project includes narrative text; an article entitled "Twenty Years of Hot Air and Proud Of It"; color slides; two copies of the Luce Impact Report on media coverage of the Fiesta and a "Spectator Market Profile"; a colorful souvenir program from the 1999 event; multiple programs/brochures for the 2000 Fiesta, to be held October 1-15; a brochure on ballooning facts and figures; multiple "Beat Gravity" bumper stickers; and a video promo entitled "Celebrate Ballooning."

Originally submitted by: Pete V. Domenici,Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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