6:30am– Ready for Liftoff

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The 34th annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta gets under way.Welcome balloonists, out-of-towners, gawkers and everyone trying to keep out of the way of Albuquerque’s annual celebration of senseless beauty.
Despite the traffic snarls, the weather worries and whatever disruptions the Balloon Fiesta brings, it’s a chance to recapture the child-like wonder of flight. "Come Touch the Sky" indeed — that’s the theme of this year’s fiesta. And what better place to start than some 50 or 60 schools in the Albuquerque area where some 130 balloons are scheduled to take off in less than an hour.

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Three balloons launched from Albuquerque’s Dennis Chavez Elementary as past of the balloon fiesta’s first day. (Photo by Donn Friedman)

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