Not wanting to pay for (or fight for) parking, we decided to bike to the Balloon Fiesta park. But that's a bit far for a family like ours, so we decided to park at the LDS Church Office Building (off of Jefferson) and bike to the Balloon Fiesta Museum, where they were providing complimentary bicycle valet parking. Pretty awesome! We could even leave our things in our little bike trailer so we weren't hauling around all of our biking stuff. That's definitely the way to go the park!
We arrived at the Balloon Fiesta around 6:30am, and knowing that the Health Science Center at UNM was offering free breakfast for students and employees, we scouted it out. I was expecting something small, but they had it all! Pastries, breakfast burritos, muffins, hot chocolate, and the works. Kiley was especially excited for the hot chocolate - we wanted to bring some to the park but forgot all about it before we left. Thank you, UNM!
We then set out to find Kiley's sisters, who were all going to the Balloon Fiesta on the same day (since it was a holiday for APS and a "special shapes" day).
|The national anthem started as the first couple balloons rise|
More balloons started to go up. We managed to get a photo of the family before the kiddos got too distracted.
Eli was mesmerized by the balloons and fire! What a great kid. Meanwhile...
...Joey found his cousins and became mesmerized by the iPhone.
It was a beautiful morning. However, we were worried that the balloons wouldn't be able to lift off and that the special shapes would be cancelled because a little wind picked up and started taking the balloons away from the landing site. Thankfully, that didn't happen!
|The last smile that we got out of this little guy before he passed out.|
Joey was having a blast! The special shapes started to come up, and Joey ran around like a crazy man playing with his cousins. They found this giant butterfly balloon and ran circles around it while they began to inflate it. Little did we know what would soon happen...
The balloon started to inflate faster than any of us had thought would happen, and the cousins were all trapped underneath!
As you can see, Mason fell victim to the butterfly's wing and was not able to escape until, finally, the balloon was standing upright. We're glad he pulled through.
Like Kiley has mentioned previously, this was the first time for me going to the Balloon Fiesta since I was really little. We have watched it from a distance and all, but it is nothing like being there in person! I took almost 300 photos with our camera, blown away by the amazing balloon designs and variety of things that we saw. Here is a little sampling of the photos I took:
|Joey was particularly excited about this one, who he called "Peso" (after his favorite character on the show Octonauts) and "George" (after, you guessed it, Curious George)|
|My beautiful wife Kiley and her sleepy little boy. He didn't sleep too long before waking to the sound of roaring fire keeping the balloons upright.|
It was fitting that the day we were enjoying the Balloon Fiesta together with our little baby, the doctor who delivered Kiley was there (Dr. Komadina) enjoying the Fiesta with his baby (the Stork balloon!).
More fun with the special shapes:
|I was a big fan of the Star Wars balloons! (obviously)|
Okay, one more family photo so we could get Yoda in the background! Sadly Darth Vader is cut out... But don't blame me. Blame the random person who we got to take our family photo. Plus, this is the only shot they took. Lame... Still, I'm grateful that they got Yoda in there.
Finally, it was time to head back to our bikes. Overall, this was a very nice way to spend our morning during one of my days off. I'm very grateful for Kiley in making our last year in Albuquerque a "tourist year," taking advantage of all the wonderful things that this magical place has to offer. We're going to miss Albuquerque when we leave in the summer!