Inside the Basket - John Regan, Balloon Fiesta Guest
October 27, 2022
John Regan attended the 50th Balloon Fiesta with his wife, Sue Regan.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, he shares how he came to attend this year’s event, his favorite part about the 50th Balloon Fiesta and favorite tips for first-time guests!
1. Give a brief overview of yourself and how you and your wife came to attend the 50th Balloon Fiesta.
I fell in love with Albuquerque and the Balloon Fiesta when my company moved me there in the mid-1980s to build Smiths grocery stores. I even rode in the JB Scotch balloon once. We weren’t allowed to disturb the livestock that year, so we wound up landing on a sandbar in the middle of the Rio Grande river. It took hours for the chase crew to catch up with us and all we had to eat and drink were peanuts and JB! After my company moved me to Las Vegas, Nevada, I met and fell in love with my wife. I tried to pass on my love for hot air balloons and attended a balloon event in Southern Nevada where my wife went in the Jumping Jack Flash balloon. She loved the experience but when we attended our first Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque shortly after our marriage, she was hooked and agreed that the Balloon Fiesta was amazing! We promised each other that we would return to Balloon Fiesta, but once we had children and they became involved in fall sports, any thought of Albuquerque in October was put on hold. Our children are now grown and we retired in 2020, and the Balloon Fiesta moved to the top of our must-do list. We attended last year (for the 49 event) and loved it and were sold on attending this year for the 50th anniversary of the Fiesta.
2. What was your favorite part about attending Balloon Fiesta?
There is so much good to say about the Balloon Fiesta. It is such an amazing experience. We love the cool, October weather. The people are happy, everyone seems to enjoy being together and meeting new people from around the world and throughout the country. I enjoy the New Mexican food and am definitely a green (chile) Guy. After living in Albuquerque I quickly learned how important green Chiles are for keeping warm in the cold weather! My wife, she really enjoys all the balloons. She is fascinated by the variety and colors and amazed by seeing so many hot air balloons in the air at the same time.
3. What was it like sharing this experience together?
It was such a great experience, to finally revisit the feelings we had 30 years ago when we first attended the Balloon Fiesta. It was amazing to see how much it had grown-more vendors, more spectators and more balloons and the “new” site is fantastic!! Less Dust. Yeah!
4. Of the many balloons at Balloon Fiesta, which was your favorite?
I honestly can’t pick a favorite balloon! They are all beautiful and fascinating. The creativity and imagination in the shape balloons makes them so fun to watch. Some of my favorites are more colorful and unique patterns. Our first balloon rides will always be memorable faves! JB Scotch piloted by a Brit! And Jumping Jack Flash from Tucson AZ.
5. What tips do you have for first-time Balloon Fiesta guests?
Spend the extra couple of dollars to go via Park & Ride. Also, dress in layers-it is cool to cold in the morning but by noon it can be quite warm. Go early!! Don’t miss a minute thinking you can catch it tomorrow, because good weather is not promised and today’s experience may not be available tomorrow. Enjoy the opportunity to meet new people-almost everyone you talk to will have the same feelings of amazement that you have and will be as eager as you are to share it! Also if you'r not comfortable standing for 4-6 hours we recommend taking a blanket or lightweight folding chairs, comes in handy so you can hold your breakfast burrito and hot chocolate!
Categories: Inside the Basket