The breakfast burritos are warm. The air is crisp. And the coffee is strong enough to keep everyone awake for the Dawn Patrol. Saturday, Oct. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 9, hot-air balloon pilots will take to the skies for Albuquerque's most iconic event.
Park Van Tassell and Sid Cutter aren’t household names to most of us. But to the ballooning community they ring bells like, say, DiMaggio and Jordan. With the 40th Albuquerque International Balloon Festival on the horizon, two books tell how these figures helped develop ballooning in the Duke City—along with insider views into the mechanics, history and evolution of this wildly popular event.
Forty years after Sid Cutter founded the Balloon Fiesta, 555 balloons will grace the sky in his honor. This year's event is dedicated to Cutter, 77, who died in May from stomach cancer, and includes airborne tributes to the Albuquerque balloonist who started it all.
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All balloonists think they fly the most beautiful thing in the sky, says Jonathan Wolfe. "And they're wrong," he laughs.