Balloon Fiesta vendors have high hopes ahead of return

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Vendors at Balloon Fiesta Park are anticipating the Fiesta’s return to make up for time and money lost last year.

For some vendors – like Chavez New Mexican Foods, a 38-year staple of Balloon Fiesta – this is the only event they do each year. Therefore, whatever they gross during Balloon Fiesta is their income for the year.

"It was a difficult year for everybody in this state and all the vendors, including us," Chavez New Mexican Foods co-owner Rudy Chavez said. "Many of these vendors are mom and pop operations."

Precautions against COVID-19, such as plexiglass separating the customers and workers, are being taken to protect workers as they gear up for the thousands of people that will flock to the park.

"Sales have been up, people are out and about and happy," Joanne Baldwin, of Albuquerque Balloon Souvenirs, said. "We’re all just happy to be out now."

Although Baldwin has been to other events and noticed a positive trend, Balloon Fiesta will always hold a special place in her heart.

"I love it!" Baldwin exclaimed, "This year I’m going up in a hot air balloon so I’m very excited to check that off the bucket list."