ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s not just Balloon Fiesta that is celebrating 50 years, one lucky couple won a very special contest that is honoring their time together.

Ida and Tony Ortiz, from Belen, are celebrating 50 years of marriage together. After they married, they left New Mexico for a few years.

“We got married on August 19, 1972. We dated since 1970. We got married in August,” said Ida, “when we moved to California, he got jobs that he liked and that he was a good provider where I didn’t have to go out and look for a job. So, when the kids came around, I got to stay home with them.”

Saturday, the couple is back in New Mexico and still going strong with two kids, four grandkids, and one great grand baby. Recently, the Ortiz’s renewed their vows.

“We’ve got married there in Belen, and then now in August, we had 50 years; we renewed our vows in Belen with family and friends.”

The City of Albuquerque’s Parks and Recreational Department alongside with Balloon Fiesta wanted to honor couples who have been together for 50 years. A total of 75 people applied and provided proof of their marriage and received free tickets and parking passes to the park, but the Ortiz’s were surprised with one other gift, a free balloon ride.

The couple said 50 years has not always been easy, but their secret to a lifetime of love and many more years to come is an open line of communication.

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“The only advice for 50 years is if we got into arguments or fights, we sat down and talked about it, and it was never brought up again. That’s how we always did it.”

Due to Saturday’s rain, the Ortiz’s were not able to go up in the balloon, but the city is rescheduling their flight for when the weather is better. The other 75 applicants were honored Saturday by the City and the mayor at Balloon Fiesta Park with a special meeting and photos.