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.