Balloon Fiesta’s history of the Special Shapes Rodeo


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Special Shape Rodeo is one of Fiesta’s most popular attractions, but just how did that tradition get started?

Turns out, special shapes date back more than 130 years. Around 1880, a British pilot created a perfume-bottle shaped balloon.

Like many of today’s special shapes, it was designed as an advertisement. But it was another century before the first special shapes showed up at Fiesta, in the 1980s.

“Balloon pilots were getting kind of too serious and they thought that things needed to lighten up a bit,” said Balloon Museum Curator Marilee Nason.

One of the original fiesta special shapes, a Carmen-Miranda inspired balloon, is still flying today.

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