No flying for me today, but that doesn't mean I neglected aviation. The weather cooperated beautifully for today's Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta - in fact, the announcer said this was the best weather they've had all week. It was well worth getting up at four AM to catch the shuttle bus to the Fiesta site in time for the Dawn Patrol launch at six.
An hour later, the mass ascension saw dozens and dozens of balloons rise into the clear sky.
The balloons compete to make precision landings through a gate, and drop streamers on a target as they come in. The winds at Albuquerque are such that the balloons can rise up to catch a wind which blows them away from the field, then descend to catch a wind which blows them right back again.
After the mass ascension, there was a Special Shapes Rodeo, where balloons of all sorts were inflated and, in most cases, rose into the sky.
The Special Shapes Relationship - Uncle Sam and Chiquita Banana (I think), meet a Beefeater and a British Bulldog.
Vincent Van Gogh
Smokey the Bear and some bees...
Some more special shapes - a scarecrow, an alien, the Bimbo Donuts Bear... and Jesus?
"Luke... I... am... your... balloon..."
"Balloon I am, yes."
Note the very appropriate British registration on this Koala balloon - G-DAAY
"When pigs fly"? Well, now they can...
Finally, a couple of colorful balloons to finish off with.