Smiley faces all around at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta

Watching patiently as balloons lift off at daybreak.

Catching a selfie at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta 2014

My mom used to say she could be content just sitting in a parked car at the downtown square, watching the people go by.  And so I guess I’ve come by this pastime honestly.  If you, too, enjoy watching people, especially happy ones, you need to get yourself to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta — any session, any day.  ‘Cause happy people are everywhere you look.

Watching patiently as balloons lift off at daybreak.

Watching patiently as balloons lift off at daybreak.

Camera enthusiasts are some of the most focused people around — adjusting lenses, positioning their bodies up or down, and then wrinkling their faces to capture just the right angle for the best shot. (Sometimes I watch to see what they’re watching and then position myself in the same place for that same great shot.  Is that cheating?)

We saw some mighty big cameras at Balloon Fiesta 2014.  No wonder it's called the "most photographed event in the world."

We saw some mighty big cameras at Balloon Fiesta 2014. No wonder it’s called the “most photographed event in the world.”

Others just enjoy sitting on the sidelines — taking pics and sending ’em on via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Tweeting out his best shots, this colorful guy set up camp on the launch field and  had a ball!

Havin’ a ball tweeting pics of balloons (and people, too) to the folks back home.

Balloon crews are also watchable.  Like this threesome taking on the responsibility of letting the air out.  That’s right.  Not all balloons go up.  This team went through the motions of ballooning, right down to the moment of lift-off, and then took it all down.  It’s something they do, they said, to educate the crowd.  (And we learned a lot!)

Letting the air out at Balloon Fiesta

Letting the air out at Balloon Fiesta

Even the official Balloon Fiesta Launch Directors — ZEBRAS, as they’re known — have fun at Fiesta.  Who knew you’d see grown men with tails acting official but hamming it up with the crowd all the while!

No one, however, commanded any more attention than this guy — Steve Stucker, C0-host and Weatherman for KOB Eyewitness News 4 Today.  Even at 4:30 AM, Stucker smiled, pinched babies’ cheeks, greeted the crowd standing around him, and then delivered the news onsite just as he does all nine days of Balloon Fiesta.  When we weren’t watching this always smiling man, we were staring at the buttons he’s collected over the years of attending balloon events.  An article on KOB 4’s site says, “Steve jokes that he is the Most Photographed Human at Balloon Fiesta.”

KOB New 4 Anchor and Weatherman -- Steve Stucker, the Most Photographed Human at Balloon Fiesta

KOB New 4 Anchor and Weatherman — Steve Stucker, the Most Photographed Human at Balloon Fiesta

So, if you like people watching along with balloon watching, you need to book a trip to Albuquerque during Balloon Fiesta.  You’ll be smiling right along with ’em!

For more information:

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: balloonfiesta.com 

Balloon Fiesta Photo Contesthttp://www.balloonfiesta.com/event-info/photo-contest

 

 

 

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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8 Responses to Smiley faces all around at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta

  1. LuAnn says:

    Great idea for a post. This is one balloon festival we have got to get to someday.

  2. I like how you turned the camera from the balloons to the people. You certainly got a lot of shots of happy people, which I can understand why. It looks like a beautiful event.

  3. I love people watching like your mom— just about anywhere. Getting the air out of balloons is a lot like getting the air out of river rafts. Finally, I took several photos of photographers assuming weird positions to get shots at Burning Man this year. I will post them at some time. –Curt

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