ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In honor of the milestone anniversary, the Balloon Museum is opening a new, permanent exhibit featuring interactive activities for families to enjoy.

KRQE News 13 got a sneak peek of what guests will get to see when the Canopy of Color exhibit opens up to the public on September 24. Museum director Nan Masland says this exhibit has been in the works for almost a year.

People can learn more about Balloon Fiesta’s long history starting with its humble beginnings in 1972 when 13 balloons launched. Those who check out the exhibit can see personal photos and news coverage from that first Balloon Fiesta and learn more about the inaugural pilots.

There are special memorabilia that can only be seen at the exhibit like trophies and unique hats once worn by pilots. There are also hands-on activities like being able to touch balloon envelope fabrics and getting to step inside a balloon basket to prepare for take-off.

“The experience of being on the field at Balloon Fiesta like walking under a canopy of color where there’s a cathedral of balloons rising above your head that was our inspiration for the title of this exhibition Canopy of Color,” said Masland.

The exhibit is located near the museum entrance.