By Chris KyserThe balloon festival is an annual tradition in Albuquerque.
This year, however, a festival in the city’s East End is being canceled, a decision that comes at a time when balloons are being made available for purchase.
“I’m really saddened and disappointed,” said David Williams, a balloon maker and festival organizer, as he and his colleagues made preparations for the event at the New Mexico Museum of Art.
“I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years.
We’ve been in the process of trying to get a new balloon festival in Albuquerque for about 10 years now.”
Williams has had balloon festivals in Albuquerque since 2012, when he launched the Albuquerque Balloon Festival in 2014.
The festival is now in its 13th year, and the festival continues to draw crowds.
“We’re in a very challenging time right now with our balloon community,” Williams said.
“We’re trying to maintain a balance, trying to keep balloons going in a way that’s sustainable and safe.”
While the New Mexican Balloon Festival has been around since 1994, the festival has recently had a bump in popularity, as ballooning has become more popular.
The New Mexico Balloon Festival is currently in its 12th year.
It has hosted balloon competitions, balloon shows, balloon festivals, and balloon parades, but this year, the New Hampshire Balloon Festival was canceled due to weather.
“The New Mexico State Parks and Recreation Department announced that they were shutting down the New American Balloon Festival due to extreme conditions that made it unsafe for balloons to be used,” said Chris Kiyas of Balloon Festival of New Mexico.
“The New American Balloon Festival is being shut down in Albuquerque this year due to this extreme weather.”
New balloons are now being sold at the Albuquerque balloon festival for $35 each, and Williams said he hopes to have the festival open again this year.
“That’s a great way to help the balloon community keep going, so that people can enjoy balloons, but also to keep the balloons safe,” Williams added.
While Williams has enjoyed the balloons, he’s also had to make arrangements for his own business.
The Albuquerque Balloon Fest is located at the city park, but he said the festival does not allow balloons to land at the park, instead allowing the festival to rent out a private ballooning area.
“Our festival is in a residential area,” Williams explained.
“A lot of people, especially people in the East End, are coming out here because they want to have fun, to make balloons, and they don’t want to come into the park and they get a lot of balloons.”
Williams said he plans to bring more balloons to the festival, but said he will be selling them at the discounted price of $25 per balloon.
“It’s nice to have a few free balloons for our guests,” Williams remarked.
“But we do have a lot more balloons in storage, and that’s what we’re hoping to bring into the festival.”
Follow Christopher Kysers work at Balloon Festival New Mexico on Twitter: @bobcjakins and @bubbaparty