Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

February 17th, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Sport, Events

© flickr.com - John Fowler/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – John Fowler/cc-by-2.0

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a yearly festival of hot air balloons that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico during early October. The Balloon Fiesta is a nine-day event, and has over 500 balloons each year. The event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. The Balloon Fiesta began in 1972 as the highlight of a 50th birthday celebration for 770 KKOB Radio. Radio station manager Dick McKee asked Sid Cutter, owner of Cutter Flying Service and the first person to own a hot air balloon in New Mexico, if KKOB could use his new hot-air balloon as part of the festivities. The two began discussing ballooning, along with conversation and help from Oscar Kratz, and McKee asked what the largest gathering of hot air balloons to date had been. 19 balloons in England, Cutter replied. Kratz asked “Can we get 19 here?” Cutter agreed to try. He got commitments from 21 pilots, but bad weather kept some of them from arriving in time. The first fiesta ended up as a gathering of 13 balloons on April 8, 1972, sponsored by KKOB. The first event was located in the parking lot of the Coronado Center Shopping Mall with 20,000 spectators and with balloonists from Arizona, California, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Texas taking part. McKee, Cutter, and Kratz are the three men who had originally started the balloon races. The first fiesta incorporated a “Roadrunner-Coyote Balloon Race” (a “hare-and-hounds” race elsewhere in the world) with 1 balloon being the “Roadrunner” and the others being “Coyote” balloons (the “Roadrunner” balloon was actually emblazoned with likenesses of both Warner Bros. characters). The winner of the race – the “Coyote” that landed closest to the Roadrunner – was Don Piccard of the noted aerostation dynasty, flying a balloon of his company’s design and construction (his wife also placed in the race). This race has continued as part of the Balloon Fiesta today.   read more…

Route 66: The longest village in America

May 8th, 2013 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions

U.S. Route 66 © SPUI

U.S. Route 66 © SPUI

U.S. Route 66 (US 66 or Route 66), also known as the Will Rogers Highway and colloquially known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was a highway within the U.S. Highway System. One of the original U.S. Highways, Route 66 was established on November 11, 1926 – with road signs erected the following year. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in America, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Los Angeles, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both a hit song and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s.   read more…

The Santa Fe National Historic Trail

July 7th, 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Map of Santa Fe Trail © US National Park Service

Map of Santa Fe Trail © US National Park Service

The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pioneered in 1821 by William Becknell, it served as a vital commercial and military highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. At first an international trade route between the United States and Mexico, it was the 1846 U.S. invasion route of New Mexico during the Mexican-American War.   read more…

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