28 September 2011

The Air Up There

It's that time of year again... the balloons are here. The Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta starts this coming weekend and runs through 9 Ocotober.

If you are in the area, keep your eyes on the sky!!

Check out KOB.COM to visit their live cam from the Balloon Fiesta grounds. The first mass ascension is this Saturday at 7am MST.

Official website at BALLOONFIESTA.COM

Here is my post from last year.

If you have spent any time in Albuquerque this past week you have no doubt pulled off to the side of the road and stared skyward -- the behemoths have returned:

It also marks my third year attending the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta -- now in its 39th year!

It also means an early rise:

The last three years I've arrived at the park and ride by 04:30 which seems just about right. It truly is the only way to get to the balloon fiesta. I would never recommend driving to it, especially on a weekend.

Once you get there, there is not a whole lot to do that early...except look for souvenirs and eat. Legend has it that the 'breakfast' burrito variation was created at the balloon fiesta by Tia Sophias out of Santa Fe. I don't know for sure, I do know it is delicious at five am!!

Even this early in the morning the grounds have a state fair feel about them.

Of course the main reason for being here is about to begin...

The previous few years, the early morning has been bone cold, this year every day has been perfect, in the low 50s. Of course the day I decide to go it is more like 45.

It is all worth it when you see these giants begin to inflate and surround you.

What other sporting event can you get up this close to the participants?

The colors in the morning light are amazing!

For the first time in several years every morning was picture perfect and mass ascensions were able to take place. Winds postponed all but one evening 'glow'.

The week ended on a sad note; however, when news arrived that Italian search and rescue had called off the search for Albuquerque ballooning legend Richard Abruzzo and his ballooning partner Carol Rymer Davis who disappeared over the Adriatic Sea while participating in the Gordon-Bennet Gas Balloon race, the oldest balloon race.

Reports indicate the gondola plunged 50 miles an hour over the Adriatic Sea. No wreckage has been found.

As this season of Land of the Zia comes to an end, I will take one last planned adventure next weekend. There is a chance of rain but I am hoping the weather holds out.

Stay tuned.

I'm out.

UP NEXT: Balloon vids, whooo hoooo!

14 September 2011

Bitter Heart, let go ...and love.

Oh man... one of my favorite singer/songwriters has released a new CD this week: Mason Jennings. Amazing.

Check it out for yourself:

And now I have to pack... headed to Tulsa/OKC early in the morn'

I'm out.

13 September 2011

The Head and the Heart

Hello folks, packing for my last scheduled trip of the year. I'm headed to Tulsatown to catch a gig at Cain's Ballroom and just relax before the craziness of the holidays.

I know, I know, I still have not posted Walkabout IV. What can I say.

Anyhoo... please enjoy this GREAT new band called The Head and the Heart. They have a new self-titled CD out. Well worth picking up or downloading. They are currently touring the east and then on to Europe.

08 September 2011

LIVE FROM THE 505: The Burning of Zozobra!

The Burning of Zozobra can be viewed LIVE at Santa Fe.com 8pm MST.

All 25,000 tix SOLD OUT.

02 September 2011


Unfortunately I will not be able to make The Burning of Zozobra this year as I have to be to work at four am the following morning.... bummer. So here is a re-post of the 2009 event I attended with my buddy Dale who was visiting from Maine. If you plan on being in Santa Fe next Thursday night I highly recommend the event. Tickets in advance online are only $10 --$15 at the door. Only 25,000 tickets are being sold this year and it WILL sell out.

Enjoy the Santa Fe Fiestas and have a plate of green chili chicken enchiladas for me!!

KOB.COM [channel 4 in Albuquerque] will broadcast the event on its website. Check it out.

...meanwhile....set the Way-back machine for September 2009....

Early September signals the return of many traditions in New Mexico like roasting green chilis and the return of Old Man Gloom.

Last September my friend Dale was visiting and I took him up to Santa Fe where we watched the original 'burning man' burn.

We had actually arrived in Santa Fe a little late as we made a stop in Madrid, NM.

Madrid is a very cool little artist community on the east side of the Sandia Mountains. There are all kinds of arts and crafts shops and a restaurant or two. Madrid has a kind of funky/kitschy feel to it.

By the time we got into Santa Fe the plaza had pretty much closed up shop so we missed all the cool booths.

We parked a couple of blocks away from Fort Marcy Park and followed the crowds.

There was not much to be seen once there. The obligatory souvenir booth which had ok t-shirts [wtf - no black T's?? I would think that would be a given]. I saw a cool bobble head of Zozobra for $25 bucks...eh I could do with out it. I ended up not purchasing anything.

Next, the food vendors....err.. only 8 of them?? Kinda disappointing. We had some shredded pork that was ok.

Once on the field we pretty much just waited with everyone else. There were bands playing but nothing else.

What suprised me most were the people having picnics on picnic blankets. It was crowded enough with tens of thousands of people around you with out having to worry about stepping on someones blanket.

Also I was very suprised smoking was allowed on the field. Most curious.

The festivities started around nine pm -- for five bucks it was worth the wait. The light show was pretty cool and the burning it self was pretty awesome.

Pagan type dancers came onto the stage first and da
nced around the giant marionette, followed by dancers with fire sticks. The music was perfectly eerie.

There was something eerie about the whole event. Thousands of people chanting "Burn him, burn him" the whole thing had a pagan feel to it. As I mentioned before, if I were a four year old in the audience it sure would freek me out.

Did I mention the odor of 'ganja' was very apparent...lol.

I would think an event as old as this one, 86 years, would be able to afford 'known' bands. I guess too many peoples pockets are being lined.

Anyway... Zozobra was 'burned'. It was very creepy seeing his head on fire with flames shooting out of his eye sockets and mouth and him moaning and wailing about, ultimately seeing his head fall off in flames.

When all was said and done, it was pretty cool. The crowd then proceded to wander the streets of downtown Santa Fe yelling, "Viva la fiestas!!!"

Eighty-six years ago artist William Shuster, Jr came to Santa Fe to paint and would stay on to help build the arts community in The City Different.

Shuster created the first Zozobra, or 'Old Man Gloom' [now a 40 ft tall marionette, which Guiness has verified is the largest marionette in the world], an effigy of all the gloom and dispair from the past year, to be burned.

Tradition holds that you are supposed to offer your gloom
and dispair in documents or notes to be burned with Zozobra at the Fort Marcy Park grounds near the plaza in Santa Fe.

Definitely one of the more interesting ways to spend an evening.

And so ends another adventure in the Land of the Zia.

I'm out.