ALBUQUERQUE, NM (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Pilots from around North Carolina and the world flocked to New Mexico for the 49th Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The nine-day event brings balloonists and fans by the hundreds of thousands.
“There’s so much going on!” Said Jayme Nelson, Pilot of Anderson, SC-based Balloon ‘Palmetto Paws’. “It’s so beautiful but you have to be aware of there being so many around you.”
Nelson pilots the balloon with her father, who taught her how to fly.
From Charlotte, Clark Harbold is piloting ‘It’s a Zoo’. He says the annual pilgrimage to New Mexico is part of the ballooning culture. “This is our homage to the wind and mother nature. We always come to Albuquerque — we have Statesville as a local thing but that was canceled this year.”
Harbold says his entire team is vaccinated and knows that COVID still dealt a blow to the fiestas. Many international balloon teams were unable to attend due to the hard and fast restrictions on international travel.