ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – This weekend would’ve been the first weekend of the Balloon Fiesta, but the city’s smaller Balloon Fall Fest is happening in its place amid the pandemic.
“The whole world has changed, we’re just trying to make the most of what we can, with what we have,” said one of the balloon pilots launching from Balloon Fiesta Park Saturday morning.
The massive crowds of people that typically flock to Fiesta Park are absent this year. Spectators are not allowed to watch the launches, leaving the park quiet. Only a few pilots are allowed to launch from the park grounds.
Old Town, another major tourist attraction, is seeing less foot traffic too. Trudy Collins Cervantes, owner of The Wild Rose describes what the plaza typically looks like during Balloon Fiesta.
“Hundreds of tour busses let off all day long right in front of my door, for two weeks. It’s a zoo,” said Collins Cervantes.
She says while hundreds of tourists may not be strolling the plaza on what would normally be their busiest time of year, she hopes locals will be encouraged to pay a visit. “There’s so much down here and the tourists love it, and can’t wait to get here. Some tourists love Old Town even more than Santa Fe, so I’m inviting you back,” said Collins Cervantes.
More balloons will launch tomorrow morning, Wednesday, and then again next weekend from various parks in Albuquerque. Spectators are not allowed to visit any of the launch sites, you’re encouraged to watch from home.