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Albuquerque losing the Balloon Fiesta?

May 3, 2007

I don’t think so, but maybe something is being lost in the translation… wait a second, they speak English in the Emirates. Last I heard, the Balloon Fiesta wasn’t going anywhere, but then I stumbled upon this from Dubai based Gulf News:

The International Balloon Festival is taking over Dubai’s skies for the first time this year as an official Dubai Shopping Festival event.

. . . .

Organising the event will be a team from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Inc of New Mexico, where the festival has been held for more than 34 years.

Where the festival has been held? Hmm. I don’t like the sound of that. Perhaps AIBF is hoping Dubai’s Festival turns into something of a ‘sister festival’ — you know, Spring and Fall; East and West, but the Fiesta’s website is completely void of any Emirate information.

The Dubai International Balloon Festival will supposedly be the biggest ballooning event next to our very own, but how long will that last? Dubai is planning on hosting 100 balloons for its two week event — didn’t we start off with 13? Dubai doesn’t do anything small, if you haven’t heard.

C’mon Albuquerque. We need to rally. The Balloon Fiesta is our tourism lifeblood. I love Dubai — the Emirates and the Saudi Peninsula are among the most amazing places I’ve had the good fortune of visiting, but we can’t take this one lying down. Perhaps we’ve been asleep at the wheel (let’s see how many clichés I can stuff into this post), but it is time to wake up.

Balloon Fiesta Park is top notch facility and the Museum is a nice touch, but what else can we do?

I’ll tell you one thing, the entertainment between the mass ascension and balloon glows is mediocre at best. There is a giant lawn that doesn’t see much use in the middle of the day — why can’t we have some big time headliners play in the afternoon? Why isn’t the Balloon Fiesta nationally telecast, too? If Macy’s Thanksgiving Day and the Tournament of Roses parades get national media coverage, why can’t the Balloon Fiesta? The Balloon Fiesta should do a better job of integrating our community and culture into the event, too. Oh, you say there is a ‘limited edition’ poster each year? Pins, too?! Well, I guess that is a start, but I have to believe we can do better. Turn the Balloon Fiesta into the Oktoberfest of the Southwest!

…Some ideas, anyway. Let’s keep Dubai on their toes. We’re the ‘Capital of Ballooning,’ dammit.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    May 7, 2007 7:34 am

    Oktoberfest=beer…and you just know someone will get a BUI.

    I love the idea of big time performers during the day, but it would almost have to be a separate ticket. You’d have to charge a lot more money to pay for the bands, and grandma from Tacoma doesn’t really care about The Shins (unless she’s awesome).

    Of course, you look at all the local bands fighting for gigs, and you figure some of them might be a good fit.

  2. El Orange permalink
    May 7, 2007 9:30 am

    We certainly don’t want drunk drivers on the road, but don’t forget that we have public events with alcohol all the time, and, yes, people get DWI’s, but that doesn’t mean we stop having the events. Throw up some roadblocks and setup a Blitz crew and we’ll get those irresponsible enough to drive under the influence off our roads. One of those giant Budweiser blimps used to make an appearance, so it isn’t like balloons and beer are unprecedented. In fact, Warsteiner was a sponsor for this year’s Fiesta. Anyway, it is just an idea I was throwing out there. Oktoberfest may not be for us. 🙂

    Undoubtedly headliners would bump ticket prices up, unless the city decided to fork the bill. Maybe Grandma from Tacoma doesn’t want to see The Shins (what is wrong with her?!), but she probably isn’t hanging out at the park in the middle of the day either. A fair number of Albuquerqueans only make the 5am trek to the park when guests are in town. If you live in the Q, the hot air balloon thing is kind of old news. (That doesn’t mean it isn’t cool.) Give locals a reason to come check out the event. It is difficult to find a genre of music everyone can agree on, but you can stuff a ton of music into a ten days. Again, just an idea.

    I’m not at all opposed to throwing local bands into the mix — I love local music. I see no reason why a high school pep band and a local musician can’t share the same stage.

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