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 V.13 No.40 | September 30 - October 6, 2004 
Cooper Sanchez

Feature: Schedule

2004 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Schedule

From its humble beginnings as a small gathering of 13 hot air balloons held in the parking lot of Coronado Shopping Center in 1972, The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has become the largest annual balloon event in the world. In its second year, 13 countries represented themselves in the first World Hot Air Balloon Championships at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds, and in the 1978 event, 273 balloons participated.

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Feature: Schedule

Friday, Oct. 1

7-9 a.m. • Albuquerque Aloft

Balloons will launch at selected area elementary schools throughout Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.

5-7 p.m. • Fiesta Challenge Competition Flight

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Feature: Schedule

Monday, Oct. 2

5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications

The Dawn Patrol began in 1978 when two California balloonists developed position lighting systems that allowed them to fly at night. Dawn Patrol pilots take off in the dark and fly until it is light enough to see landing sites. Fellow balloonists appreciate the Dawn Patrol because they can watch the balloons and get an early idea of wind speeds and directions at different altitudes. On mass ascension days, about a dozen Dawn Patrol balloons perform the Dawn Patrol Show, a choreographed inflation and launch set to music that has been part of the Balloon Fiesta since 1996.

6:45-7 a.m. • Opening Ceremonies

7-8:30 a.m. • Mass Ascension

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Feature: Schedule

Sunday, Oct. 3

5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications

7-8:30 a.m. • Mass Ascension

9-10 a.m. • Car Display of Classic and Special Interest Vehicles

10-11 a.m. • Heart of America Quilt Display

10-11 a.m. • Salute to Veterans

5:45-8 p.m. • Balloon Glow® presented by Smith's Food & Drug Centers

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Feature: Schedule

Monday, Oct. 4

Wells Fargo Credit Card Day

5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol

6:45-7 a.m. • New Mexico Challenge Hot Air Balloon Race sponsored by Contractors Bonding, Ltd.

7-8 a.m. • Flying Events presented by Wells Fargo Credit Card

New Mexico Challenge Hot Air Balloon Race presented by Contractor's Bonding, Ltd./Sandia Casino Black Jack Competition

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Feature: Schedule

Tuesday, Oct. 5

Coca Cola Day

5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol

7-11:45 a.m. • Flying Events presented by Coca-Cola

New Mexico Challenge Hot Air Balloon Race presented by Contractor's Bonding, Ltd.-Sandia Casino Black Jack Competition

It's impossible to line balloons up on the starting line and have them race to the finish, but balloonists have come up with some interesting forms of competition. In a ballooning competition, pilots must use the winds at different altitudes to steer the balloon to a target, usually a big "X" on the ground. The pilot then drops a marker from the balloon so that it lands as close to the center of the target as possible. Closest drop wins. On competition days, some balloons take off at Balloon Fiesta Park and fly to targets located north or south of the launch site. Other balloons launch at least a mile away from Balloon Fiesta Park and fly to targets at the park. The overall competition winners are determined by individual pilots' scores over all competition events flown during Fiesta week. The Sandia Casino Black Jack race uses a similar premise, but pilots must drop two markers on giant playing cards laid out on the field and score as close to "21" as possible.

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Feature: Schedule

Wednesday, Oct. 6

5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications

7-10 a.m. • Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension presented by Continental Airlines

The "international" part of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been a tradition since the event's earliest days. In 1973 and 1975, the Balloon Fiesta hosted the World Hot-Air Balloon Championships. The Balloon Fiesta has also played host to the world's two most prestigious gas ballooning events, the Coupe Aèronautique Gordon Bennett (twice, in 1993 and 1999) and the World Gas Ballooning Championships (1994). The Flight of the Nations especially honors pilots from all the nations participating in Balloon Fiesta. The Wednesday mass ascension begins with flights by representative pilots from each country, who launch as their country's national anthem is played, flying their national flag.

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Feature: Schedule

Thursday, Oct. 7

5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol

7-8 a.m. • Wells Fargo Special Shape Mass Ascension

Special shape balloons are defined as any balloon that doesn't conform strictly to the normal rounded balloon shape. Some shapes are simple—pointed ears and whiskers added to a "regular" balloon to make it into a kitty's head. Others—flying houses, cars, cacti, ristras, bottles, cans, critters and so on—are computer-designed engineering marvels costing marvelous amounts of money. The first shapes appeared at Balloon Fiesta in the '70s, and became increasingly common—and crowd favorites—in the '80s. In 1989, the Balloon Fiesta created the Special Shapes Rodeo to showcase these incredible creations. The special shapes events now include mass ascensions on the Thursday and Friday mornings of Balloon Fiesta, and the "Glowdeo"—a shapes-only glow—on Thursday and Friday evenings.

8-10 a.m. • Flying Events

5:45-8 p.m. • Wells Fargo Special Shape Glowdeo™

8-9 p.m. • AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by the Albuquerque Journal

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Feature: Schedule

Friday, Oct. 8

5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol

7-8 a.m. • Wells Fargo Special Shape Mass Ascension

8-10 a.m. • Key Grab Competition

Want to win a car? A lot of balloonists do. Launch at least one mile away from the field, fly to the field, grab the keys off the top of a pole (and get the right set of keys (there are several poles and only one has the real keys), and you get a shiny new vehicle! Simple, right? Wrong! In getting to the field, you have to successfully navigate among the other 700-plus balloons heading for the same spot, not break any rules and use the winds to get to the pole, at the right altitude, at the right time. And you have to grab the keys with your hands—no hooks or other devices allowed. Despite the difficulties, the Balloon Fiesta has given away a lot of vehicles since the event began in 1978. For spectators, this is one of Balloon Fiesta's most watchable, and spectacular events.

5:45-8 p.m. • Wells Fargo Special Shape Glowdeo™

8-9 p.m. • AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by the Albuquerque Journal

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Feature: Schedule

Saturday, Oct. 9

5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications

7-8:30 a.m. • Mass Ascension

5:45-8 p.m. • Night Magic ™ Show presented by Wal-Mart

8-9 p.m. • AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by the Albuquerque Journal

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Feature: Schedule

Sunday, Oct. 10

Propane Day presented by Valley Gases

5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications

7-8:30 a.m. • Farewell Mass Ascension

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Ron Behrmann

Feature

The Sky's the Limit

Shootin' the breeze with balloon photographer Ron Behrmann

Ron Behrmann captures the essence and beauty of life and all its wonders through his photographs, chasing a passion that has taken him to great heights.

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Today's Events

Fierce Women Warriors Labor Day Party at Tractor Brewery Wells Park

Rick Overton is ready to bring out the Fierce Woman Warrior in you.

Comedy superstar Rick Overton headlines a Labor Day party in honor of the backbone of our community—working men and women.

New Mexico Wine Festival at Loretto Park

Whiskey Business Karaoke! at Blackbird Buvette

More Recommented Events ››
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