ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 7:20 p.m.
Winds are increasing slightly at Balloon Fiesta Park and balloons taking part in tonight’s Night Magic Glow are beginning to deflate on the field.
The AfterGlow Fireworks show is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.
The flag at Balloon Fiesta Park has been switched to green signaling Saturday night’s are a go.
Randy Myklebust, a Balloon Fiesta safety official, told balloon pilots, “Go cold, go hot, make it pretty!”
Balloon officials decided during their 5:30 p.m. meeting that winds are safe to inflate for tonight’s scheduled Night Magic Glow.
Pilots are unrolling their tarps on the field and preparing to inflate their balloons.
Balloon Fiesta officials will meet with 5:30 p.m. to decide if winds at Balloon Fiesta Park are safe for tonight’s scheduled Night Magic Glow.
The weather forecast for tonight has winds at less than 10 mph, the limit at which Balloon Fiesta officials say is safe for balloon inflation.
Tonight’s Night Magic Glow is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. and the AfterGlow Fireworks show is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.
While balloons are grounded under a yellow flag until wind conditions improve, Balloon Fiesta Park is preparing for this today’s Music Fiesta featuring Darius Rucker, which is scheduled for noon.
Saturday morning’s Balloon Fiesta Mass Ascension has ended and officials have raised the yellow flag signaling further events are suspended until weather conditions improve. Winds aloft are greater than 10 mph, the limit which officials say is safe for balloon flight.
Gov. Susana Martinez’s flight was scrubbed due to winds.
Pilot Bill Lee of Gallup said high surface winds made him not so much worried about flying, more about landing.
“I’d rather be on the ground wishing I was up there than up there wishing I was on the ground,” Lee said.
Those high winds at the surface also appear to have delayed or prevented flights of many other pilots at the Fiesta. The field is dotted Saturday morning with inflated balloons, and it’s up to pilots’ discretion whether to fly at all.
Pilots were told at the morning briefing the winds reached 19 mph at 1,000 feet.
Martinez’s flight with Lee was part of the “New Mexico True” tourism campaign. Also disappointed Saturday were two kids who won the trip through a summer reading program– Anastasia Martinez 7, and Christopher Beall, 11.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” the governor said as she boarded a art to ride back to her tent. She added that the two young children aboard made the pilot’s decision more brave.
Lee said he gave the kids’ parents his contact information in order to set up a flight in the near future.
Gallup has a smaller balloon rally in sandstone canyons east of town during the first weekend in December.
Governor Susanna Martinez’s flight is scrubbed due to winds aloft.
Dawn Patrol balloons, are aloft and organizers on the ground are waiting for their reports on conditions before proceeding with the mass ascension.
Traffic on roads approaching the Ballon Park is a mess.
I-25 southbound near Tramway was down to one lane because of a crash.
Governor Susanna Martinez is at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta today. She’ll be riding the HighLee LikeLee balloon. You can find the balloon around the B3 launch site.
Dawn Patrol has launched Saturday morning, and Balloon Fiesta officials are flying the green flag, signaling all events are cleared for launch.
Weather conditions look good for this morning’s Balloon Fiesta events.
Saturday’s Balloon Fiesta schedule
5:45 a.m. – Dawn Patrol Show, presented by Route 66 Casino Hotel
6:30 a.m. – Krispy Kreme Morning Glow
7: 00 a.m. – Mass Ascension
8:00 a.m. — AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational
11:00 a.m. – Balloon Fiesta Pin Trading (Group Tour Tent)
12:00 p.m. – Balloon Fiesta Music Fiesta – Darius Rucker & Special Guests
5:00 p.m. – AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational
5:45 p.m. – Night Magic™ Glow
8:00 p.m. – AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show*, presented by the Albuquerque Journal