Local brewery hosts ‘Balloons and Brews’ during Balloon Fiesta

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Thousands of people are coming from all over the world to see hundreds of hot air balloons grace our skies.

That means people are packing Balloon Fiesta Park and all the roads around it during the nine-day Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

“I think all the businesses in the city, we all start to feel the oncoming of Balloon Fiesta,” Shelby Chant said.

Chant is the co-owner of Steel Bender Brewyard. Businesses like hers are cashing in on the crowds to give people another way to see the balloons.

“We knew that when we built Steel Bender here, with our close proximity to Balloon Fiesta Park, that we were going to do something really special to bring the community together,” Chant said.

So, six years ago, Steel Bender held the “Balloons and Brews” event. Now, it’s become an annual tradition for them to do this event every day during Balloon Fiesta.

“We are open every single day of the Balloon Fiesta. This year it’s the [October] 7th through the 15th. We open bright and early at 7 in the morning for breakfast beers, mimosas, and beermosas. In our kitchen, we make breakfast burritos and we have some pastries,” Chant said.

Aside from the food and the booze, there are the balloons of course – and our enchanting landscapes.

“When they go up, you got an incredible view of the Balloon Fiesta Park and when Mother Nature works with us, you got balloons just flying right over you. You got the Sandias in the background. It just couldn’t be a more beautiful place,” Chant said.

With all of these attendees from all around the world, Chant says they get creative.

“I think it’s something that is really important for our city. It’s bringing in a lot of dollars, I believe that this is the biggest income generator for the city. So, I think it’s important to keep finding ways to celebrate a very special event that brings back a lot of nostalgia for a lot of us,” Chant said.

This is a first-come, first-serve event. Doors open at 7 a.m. While the tradition is only a few years old, the idea is to keep it going for many more.

“You know, you got nine days of Fiesta. So, it’s a really great opportunity to go out to your local areas and your local businesses and still experience Balloon Fiesta. You get to hang out within the community in a more intimate way,” Chant said.