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Opening-day Balloon Fiesta mass ascension canceled due to fog

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After thousands of people flocked to Balloon Fiesta Park for the first mass ascension of the 2019 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Saturday, fog crept onto the field and officials called off the big event.

Before the weather turned, several dawn patrol pilots headed up, up, and into a pastel sunrise just after 6:30 a.m. Shortly after, the green flag was raised, meaning all pilots were clear to fly.

After close to an hour of waiting on the field, mass ascension was a-go and the larger than life envelopes began to take off and drift slowly north toward Rio Rancho.

But the excitement was short-lived. A thick layer of fog chased after the balloons from the south and blanketed most of the field, causing some delays.

“Another cloud layer has come over the field,” Balloon Fiesta tweeted around 8 a.m. “Yellow flag is up and we’re on hold until later passes.”

The first round of balloons set to launch were already inflated, and they bobbed about on the ground for about an hour. When the fog still hadn’t passed, Balloon Fiesta announced on twitter the event would not continue.

“There will not be any more balloons launching from the Park this morning,” the tweet said. “Many will continue to remain inflated.

As soon as the announcement was made on a loudspeaker over the park, people began to head back to their vehicles and re-enter traffic.


Slide show: Balloon Fiesta through the years: Pictures from 1972-1991

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