ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In just nine days, a hot air balloon was created at Balloon Fiesta Park in anticipation of next year’s 50th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Although all of the balloons were grounded Saturday due to weather, Balloon Fiesta officials were thrilled to unveil this new balloon to the world officials said it only took nine days for a team, from the hot air balloon manufacturing company,  “Cameron Balloons” based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, to build the 75-foot-tall, 90-thousand-cubic-foot balloon in the “Sid Cutter Pilot Pavilion.” It’s quite the feat, according to officials who said on average it typically takes nine weeks to build a hot air balloon that size.

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Officials said the Cameron Balloons team also made a silhouette of Sid Cutter at the top of the inside of the balloon to honor the man who founded the event 49 years ago. Cutter died from cancer in 2011.  

“My hearts pounding, I’m shaking, my knees are shaking, I didn’t expect it, I had no hint, pure joy, pure joy,” said Jewel Cutter, Sid’s widow. “That’s what this whole fiesta’s about, that’s what balloons are about. It’s joy and the comradery.”

Along with Cutter’s dedication, officials said the balloon honors the other balloonists from that first Balloon Fiesta. “This balloon will fly throughout the country to promote the 50th balloon event that we’re going to have next October and on this balloon, you’ll see a bunch of little balloons that are the original 13 balloons that participated in 1972,” said Matt Guthrie,  president of Balloon Fiesta.  

The event’s last mass ascension is scheduled for Sunday morning, weather pending. Next year’s 50th Balloon Fiesta is scheduled to take place next October 1 – 9, 2022.