New Mexico is the center of the world for hot air ballooning. The October Balloon Festival in Albuquerque is world famous and worthy of a trip from anywhere to enjoy. Belen’s local festival on the weekend after St Patrick’s day is much smaller, but still a great way to spend an early Saturday morning.
We first saw a balloon festival in Pagosa Springs in the year 2000. Pagosa has both a Spring and a Fall festival. It seems like about 30 balloons attend – many of them making the drive up from New Mexico – the bright colored balloons ascending with a backdrop of the San Juan Mountains and River amongst the Ponderosa pines is something special.
The Belen St Patrick’s weekend festival has been drawing balloons for a number of years. They expected 60 balloons this year, and in person, it seemed like there were at least that many. The turnout of townspeople was huge. It was a perfect weather, blue sky, clear and warm March 18 morning. The mass ascension honored a long-time participant who died recently by allowing his Smoky the Bear balloon to inflate and ascend first.
We live in an incredible time when the resources and abundance of a land enable just normal people in a little, out of the way town like Belen, to enjoy and share and participate in the wonder and beauty of others’ hobbies and interests.
2 thoughts on “mass ascension”
Wow! I didn’t realize hot air balloons came in such a varied and imaginative array of colors and shapes! Thanks for sharing it.
The balloons have become a part of the enchantment of this beautiful part of the world. You should drive or fly out the first full week of October. We’ll make the short drive to Albuquerque several mornings, and be mesmerized by the color and the spirit of the fiesta. Fall is a special time of year here – we’ll feed you something with the new harvest of green chiles in it everyday, and you can return home with a supply for the winter.