Crowds still show on last day of Balloon Fiesta

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The weather grounded the Mass Ascension for the second day in a row, wrapping up the 2021 Balloon Fiesta.

Attendees can blame the wind for keeping balloons grounded on the ninth and final day of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Sunday morning.

"It’s my first time here but the event’s been amazing and getting to see the fireworks,” said Rochelle, Balloon Fiesta attendee.

And while pilots didn’t get the green flag Sunday – the crowds that showed up hoping to see a final Mass Ascension — still enjoyed watching some balloons inflate on the field.

"We came over here, the kids like smokey bear, so we figured we’d come see him, watched the big sky go up a few minutes ago and now it looks like there’s a handful of them going up,” said Charlie Pluto, Balloon Fiesta attendee.

It was somewhat a repeat of Saturday – when the wind was also too strong for balloons to lift off. Pilots were also able to treat the crowd to a static display on the field.

Everyone did get the green flag on the first 7 days, Albuquerque’s sky filled was with a colorful display of hundreds of balloons.

"Unfortunately this last day was compromised but we had great crowds, we had great vendors and the pilots were so appreciative. This community, Albuquerque, the entire state and the entire balloon community really needed this to come up,” said Matt Guthrie, president of Balloon Fiesta Board of Directors.

Guthrie said they’re already looking ahead to next year and it’ll be a milestone, being the 50th year of Balloon Fiesta.

"The 50th has had a lot of things in play for a while planning wise. We did the big teaser reveal yesterday with the new balloon and the 50th logo, and that balloon is very cool because it’s got the original 13 balloons on it. But planning is well underway for the 50th.”