Updated: Tuesday, 30 Nov 2010, 2:09 PM MST
Published : Tuesday, 30 Nov 2010, 2:09 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Good weather helped to inflate attendance at the 2010 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta although visitor estimates released Tuesday fell short of the record set three years ago.
Nearly 600 hot-air, special-shape and gas balloons from 37 states and 17 countries registered for the annual October event. Estimated attendance is pegged at 811,484, according to numbers in the Balloon Fiesta November newsletter.
The 2007 fiesta set the attendance record at 899,466 while weather disruptions cut the visitor numbers to 702,884 and 761,864 in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Muting the mood of the fiesta was the loss of well-known pilots Richard Abruzzo and Carole Rymer Davis who disappeared over the Adriatic Sea while flying in a European gas-balloon race. Tribute was paid to both pilots during the fiesta, and a memorial service for Abruzzo was held later at the fiesta grounds outside the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum named in part for his father.
The 2011 Balloon Fiesta will be held Oct. 1-9.
To relive the highlights of the 2010 event, visit the KRQE.com Balloon Fiesta section.