Volunteers build new Balloon Fiesta Park shade structure, storm shelter

Balloon Fiesta

A noticeable new addition at Balloon Fiesta Park aims to give people a new space to cool off, but it also might help save lives during a storm. 

The Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque is nearly done building a 30-foot tall shade structure just off the edge of the field, toward the center of the park. 

The structure will boast about 1,700 square feet of shaded area, but it will also double as a prominent safety refuge during a storm. 

“We’re giving this to the city, we’re building it, we’re paying for it,” said Jeff Rowe, president of the Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque. 

The $100,000 donation-fueled project started going up in July. Six large metal poles will eventually hold up a series of canvas-like sheets that will stretch as far as 62-feet across. 

“In addition to having a lot of shade, there’s a lightning protection system that’s built into this thing,” said Rowe. 

The shade structure will stand as the first lightning proof refuge at the park. 

“This serves as a Faraday cage because every mast is ground 12 feet deep in two places, and they’re all interconnected,” said Rowe. 

During the 2018 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Rowe says the shade structure will hang over the event’s beer garden. 

Crews are planning to have the shade structure finished by the end of next week. Formally, the shade structure will be called “The Kiwanis International Shade Structure” or “K.I.S.S.” 

The Albuquerque Kiwanis Club is also taking donations for the structure in exchange for a customized brick on its patio. For more information, click here.

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