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.
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?)
Others just enjoy sitting on the sidelines — taking pics and sending ’em on via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
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!)
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.”
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 Contest: http://www.balloonfiesta.com/event-info/photo-contest