Albuquerque Aloft launches bringing Balloon Fiesta to APS college students

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Since 2005, Albuquerque Public School students have been previewing the Balloon Fiesta each year before it officially begins. On the Friday before the Balloon Fiesta begins, balloon pilots go to schools across Albuquerque to launch or tie up their balloons for the community to see as part of the Albuquerque Aloft program.

Lichele Peete was one of the pilots who attended Los Padillas Elementary School on Friday morning. She has been ballooning for over 40 years and says she loves attending the event to show kids how the balloon works.

Although the balloon was unable to rise due to weather conditions, she said she was glad to be back after the break caused by COVID-19. “This is the unofficial start of the Balloon Fiesta and it’s really great to get up close and personal with elementary schools in the Albuquerque area. Sometimes kids don’t make it to the fiesta, so this is a good opportunity, ”said Peete.

Parents, students and staff gathered outside early Friday morning to meet the crew and watch the balloon set up. Even though they did not see the balloon take off from the ground, the students were still excited to see the fire coming out of the burner and learn fun facts about hot air balloons.

“I’ve learned that Albuquerque is the best place for balloons because of the boxing effect,” said third grader Faith.

“I liked the fire because it was warm,” said another student.

The event is the only Balloon Fiesta event that uses balloons outside of Balloon Fiesta Park. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta begins on Saturday October 2nd and lasts through October 10th.

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