First Balloon Fiesta launch honored – 50 years later at the site
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The very first Balloon Fiesta launched 50 years ago, in 1972, from the parking lot of what’s now the Coronado Center. There, 13 pilots took off and began an event that has attracted international attention for the state and Albuquerque.
An event took place on Sept. 30, honoring the first Balloon Fiesta and the original pilots one day before the 50th Balloon Fiesta formally kicked off. There, one of the original balloons was primed to take flight again, with the family of original pilot Matt Wiederkehr in attendance. Wiederkehr not only flew in the first Fiesta but was also one of the first balloonists in the U.S.
Brianna Wilson talked to the family of one of the pilots and showed what the original launch site looks like now, in the video above.