While I think the Ballooon Fiesta is great, I have a little trouble getting there. First off, I hate getting up early. Second, I don’t like crowds. Third, I like traffic even less than I like crowds—at least you can move around in crowds.
That said, I enjoyed reading a few new books published on the aerial spectacle, and writing those books up in this week’s Alibi. I learned about the late, great Sid Cutter, and also got some tasty anecdotes about shark attacks. Love reading about shark attacks. But my favorite part about the new works was some of the great art the researchers managed to dig up. Whether it was a vacationing penguin balloon channeling his inner Jimmy Buffett or photos from the first balloon launch in Albuquerque back in the late 19th century, the visuals were truly awesome. Here are some highlights that didn’t make it to print:
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.