Local businesses feeling the loss of Balloon Fiesta week


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As local businesses feel the pain of a postponed Balloon Fiesta, some are using social media to still bring in customers. This week, things are much quieter than usual at Village Pizza in Corrales.

“Fiesta week has historically been our busiest week of the year,” said Kitt Davidson, co-owner of Village Pizza. “The patio is booming, the backroom, every room. We have a lot of dining rooms and they’re all full.”

Davidson says this year is a lot different with no Fiesta and a lower dining room capacity because of COVID restrictions. Owners say they’re feeling the loss.

“Our patio is still pretty busy which we’re really thankful for, but nothing like it would be on a normal year,” said Davidson. “You look back and go oh, it’s usually a busy week, but it’s not until you see numbers and you actually feel the difference that you start to see kind of how big of an impact it has.”

Steel Bender Brewyard hosted Balloons and Brews every Fiesta since they opened. Pre-COVID, it’s one of their favorite weeks of the year.

“Almost every morning of Balloon Fiesta, we’d have this place absolutely packed,” said Shelby Chant, co-owner of Steel Bender Brewyard. “People standing around, starting at 7 in the morning with breakfast burritos and hot chocolate and beers and champagne and wine in their hands, watching the balloons launch out of Balloon Fiesta Park.”

While this week may not be the same, the local brewery says customers are still showing their support. They hope the festive event can return in 2021.

“It is sad but it’s the situation that we’re in now,” said Chant. “People return this week because they know about Balloons and Brews or their family makes sure to bring them here, so I believe we’ve had some people who have come in and are missing it as much as we are.”

Still, both businesses say they’re grateful to see everyone coming together to keep local companies going. Both hope the community support continues through the rest of ‘Fiesta Week’ and the year until Fiesta is back in flight.

“How much local businesses, local restaurants have really pulled together to try to support each other,” said Chant. “We know we all have to do this together.”

“Your business is supporting local people,” said Davidson. “We’re just really thankful.”

The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce says it’s continuing to support small businesses and hopes local officials will make new policies to protect them in the future. The 49th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is rescheduled for Oct. 2-10, 2021.

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