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34th Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque Journal | Sunday, October 2, 2005 | Debra Dominguez

Posted on 10/02/2005 12:21:16 AM PDT by woofie

Opening of Museum Coincides With the 34th ABQ International Balloon Fiesta

Nine hundred pilots, 700 balloons and thousands of spectators. Welcome to the 34th Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, where this year there's as much excitement on the ground as there is in the sky— thanks to a new attraction.

The Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, located at 9201 Balloon Museum Drive at Balloon Fiesta Park, opened its doors to the public for the first time Saturday with a red-ribbon cutting ceremony, cake and mariachis.

Richard Abruzzo, a world-renowned champion balloonist and son of the late ballooning legend Ben Abruzzo, for whom the museum was partially named, said he was nothing short of impressed with the two-story, 60,000 square-foot museum.

"I think my father would have thought it was way more than he ever dreamed it would be," Abruzzo said of the museum, which has been in the making for more than 20 years. "Its size, scale, color and dramatics are very reflective of what ballooning is all about, and you don't have to be a balloonist to appreciate it."

Abruzzo's father and the late Maxie Anderson, for whom the museum is also named, made history with partner Larry Newman in 1978 when they completed the first nonstop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by gas balloon.

"Balloon history goes back to 1783," Abruzzo said. "So there's more than 200 years of stories of invention, intrigue and tragedy to learn about here."

The $12 million museum, which includes artifacts and balloon exhibits, multipurpose facilities, a research library and a gift shop, highlights the history, science and art of ballooning.

Lauri Foss, a 37-year resident of Albuquerque, said she was glad to see the museum finally open and believes it will serve as a great tourist attraction.

"It's really nice," said Foss, who attends the balloon fiesta almost every year. "And it's been a long time coming."

Benita and Roger Littleton of Athens, Texas, offered an outsider's perspective on the new attraction and the entire fiesta.

The couple attended the festival with their two grandchildren, Jordan Brown, 10, and Andrew Littleton, 9.

"We've been to this balloon fiesta once before about 18 years ago," said Benita Littleton. "And it's changed so much since we last were here.

"The balloon field is much nicer, greener, and the whole festival's much more massive," said Littleton, who added that the number of vendors at the fiesta had increased significantly. "And the museum is just wonderful, phenomenal. We're glad we could be here for its opening day."

After viewing an array of museum exhibits, one of the Littletons' grandsons shared some newfound balloon knowledge. "These balloons take a lot of hot air to get off the ground," Jordan said quite matter-of-factly. "And these balloons can really hold a lot of weight. The museum? It's breathtaking."

Fiesta spokeswoman Kathie Leyendecker said the city's museum opening and the balloon fiesta complemented each other nicely.

"I think it's good the museum opened during balloon fiesta, especially because overall during the fiesta's 10 days there's so many people here at the park, it practically becomes the second largest 'city' in the state," Leyendecker said.

Balloon fiesta event organizers had been watching the weather closely after a couple of days of rain earlier in the week, Leyendecker said.

"We weren't worried, though," she said. "We knew we'd have a gorgeous Saturday and Sunday. And we are."

Leyendecker confirmed Saturday's event resulted in three small balloon accidents with minor injuries.

"I don't have all the details," she said, "but I do know those injured were treated and released."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: New Mexico
KEYWORDS: albuquerque; balloons; baloons

The 2005 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta got underway Saturday morning to the delight of thousands of people from around the U.S and abroad. Lance Armstrong lets his daughter Rebekka Armstrong, 3, watch the action from high atop his shoulders.

Balloons get ready for liftoff as the 2005 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta got underway Saturday morning.

From her swing-set vantage point at Mission Avenue Elementary, Taylor Bishop, 9, watches hot-air balloons from Saturday's mass ascension fly over Albuquerque for the first day of the 34th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

As the 2005 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta got underway Saturday morning, Lily Esch of California poses for a friend with the Frog Princess Balloon mascot.

As part of the opening ceremonies the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum was opened to the public on Saturday. Pictured are Chris Augster background explaining details to his 8-year-old daughter Summer Augster during a walk through. [10-2005]

The Smokey the Bear crew send the balloon up in the sky for the mass ascension Saturday morning. Last year the balloon suffered a crash as it got tangled on a radio tower just west of the Balloon Fiesta Park. [10-2005]

Smokey the Bear pilot Bill Chapel flies away during the mass ascension at Balloon Fiesta Park on Saturday. Last year the Smokey the Bear balloon suffered a crash as it got tangled on a radio tower just west of the Balloon Park.

The 2005 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta got underway Saturday morning to the delight of thousands of people from around the U.S and abroad. Pictured are balloons getting ready for liftoff

Balloons take flight as part in the 34th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday, Oct. 1.

1 posted on 10/02/2005 12:21:17 AM PDT by woofie
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To: Tijeras_Slim; Constitution Day

We gotta check this out sometime.


2 posted on 10/02/2005 12:25:03 AM PDT by martin_fierro (_____oooo_( )_oooo_____)
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To: martin_fierro

We lived in ABQ for 14 years. The Balloon Fiesta is one of the great events in the USA. Definitely worth a trip to see it!


3 posted on 10/02/2005 3:45:12 AM PDT by Laserman
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To: martin_fierro

It's very cool.


4 posted on 10/02/2005 6:20:03 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Now that taglines are cool, I refuse to have one.)
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To: abner

Hot air balloon Ping


5 posted on 10/02/2005 7:48:48 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Monthly Donor spoken Here. Go to ... https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: NormsRevenge

Thanks for the ping! We are going to be there from the 5th through the 10th. . . We are leaving the balloons at home though. We are going to be spectators. No stress, no fuss, just watching.


6 posted on 10/02/2005 7:52:04 AM PDT by abner (Looking for a new tagline- Next outrage please!- Got it! PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS LOST IN THE USA!)
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To: abner

I need to make it to one of these things.. period.. never been.

Have a good time!:-)


7 posted on 10/02/2005 8:07:45 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Monthly Donor spoken Here. Go to ... https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: NormsRevenge

Bump


8 posted on 10/02/2005 9:34:23 AM PDT by woofie (Trying hard to become another Buckhead)
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To: abner

After seeing that other thread about your local pests, I wondered if you'd be out this year. Have a nice time, the weather's been good.


9 posted on 10/02/2005 9:36:57 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Now that taglines are cool, I refuse to have one.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

LOL! We are going out to hang out with friends and to forget about that crap for a while. We will have a blast!


10 posted on 10/02/2005 9:42:54 AM PDT by abner (Looking for a new tagline- Next outrage please!- Got it! PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS LOST IN THE USA!)
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To: abner

Watch out for the buritos


11 posted on 10/02/2005 1:31:16 PM PDT by woofie (Trying hard to become another Buckhead)
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To: woofie

Breakfast burritos are yummy!


12 posted on 10/02/2005 7:16:02 PM PDT by abner (Looking for a new tagline- Next outrage please!- Got it! PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS LOST IN THE USA!)
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