Albuquerque Aloft unofficially kicks off Balloon Fiesta

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The countdown to Balloon Fiesta is on! We are only a few hours away at this point but Albuquerque Aloft kicked off the festivities Friday morning.

Nearly 200 balloon pilots launched their balloons from across the Albuquerque metro. They either tether the balloon or launch it in front of kids and their families.

At MacArthur Elementary School, many had a burrito in one hand and coffee in the other for the first of many early mornings of Balloon Fiesta season.

“I think it’s just a fun family experience. All the kids are running around playing in their playground and all the parents get to enjoy coffee and just enjoy time with our kids,” said Kirsten, a parent.

ABQ Aloft began in 2005. That was the first year students and their families got to see balloons up close right at their school.

For families not able to go to Balloon Fiesta Park, this gives them an easy option.

Thanks to the nice weather, they got the full experience this year. Two balloons launched Friday morning from MacArthur Elementary School.

For some, seeing those colorful balloons in the air is a view that never gets old.

“I’m a native New Mexican and I can remember when the Balloon Fiesta first started. I was in high school. It started with just a few balloons and just watching it move from place to place and just watching it grow, the balloons just flying in the air it’s peaceful. This is my favorite time of year, fall and the Balloon Fiesta, it rocks,” said Cheryl Russey, a teacher at MacArthur Elementary.

Spirits are high and so is the anticipation for this year’s Balloon Fiesta – all beginning with ABQ Aloft.