Project Dry Out
October 8, 2022
Seven Facilities Providing Space for 50 Special Shape Balloons to Dry Out
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Pilots and crew of 50 Special Shape Balloons participating in the 2022 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta powered by ExxonMobil are experiencing the hospitality of Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and New Mexico residents. The balloons, caught under a microburst rain shower during Friday evening’s balloon glow needed a place to air out in order to protect the fragile envelopes. Called “Project Dry Out,” members of the Balloon Fiesta Staff and Board of Directors worked tirelessly to find places for the special shape balloon teams to dry out from the rain.
Seven facilitates throughout the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area opened up their wide indoor spaces to allow crew of the 50 special shape balloons to air out their envelopes, including the Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque Indoor Batting Cage, Albuquerque Railyards, Albuquerque Sunport Snowbarns, Bode Aviation at Double Eagle Airport, Rio Rancho Events Center and the University of New Mexico Athletic Department (indoor practice facility).
Judy Nakamura, Vice President of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Board of Directors shared, “In so many respects the success of our Balloon Fiesta depends on the community and we saw that play out in a very new and different way last night when we were able to reach out to The University of New Mexico Athletics Department, Rio Rancho Events Center and the City of Albuquerque for help and they stepped up! Two people who really made a lot of this happen is Expo New Mexico General Manager Dan Mourning and Bernalillo County Manager Julie Morgas Baca.”
“The ballooning community steps up to help each other out,” says Sam Parks, Director of Operations for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. “When someone needs help, everyone steps up. Other pilots and crew volunteered their time, tarps and fans and whatever special shape resources pilots needed to help them save the envelopes.”
“I’ve instructed our team to utilize all possible facilities to aid balloonists drying envelops to adjust to last night’s rain,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We all know how important these balloonists are for our local economy and I’m grateful to have such a dedicated team at the City to support them throughout the Fiesta every year.”
“It makes me proud that Rio Rancho and its citizens are lending in the effort to help balloonists after last night's downpour. Ballooning is an iconic part of New Mexico culture and we all understand the importance of helping when possible,” says Mayor Gregg Hull.
“Our community rallying together to act quickly in support of balloonists is a clear sign that New Mexicans recognize how critical tourism is in our state’s economy,” New Mexico Tourism Secretary Jen Paul Schroer said.
“It’s truly heartwarming to see the community come together to support the balloons impacted by the storm last night,” Tania Armenta, President & CEO of Visit Albuquerque. “The balloons bring so much joy to our city and state, and the quick reaction to offer space for this process illustrates the community’s love and gratitude.”
“While Balloon Fiesta has an international draw, at its foundation it’s a community event and we serve as a choice venue for countless community events, annually. So, for us, it’s business as usual,” says Ray Roa, CSEP, General Manager, Albuquerque Convention Center.
About the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual festival of hot air balloons that takes place every October in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. It is the largest gathering of balloons and balloonists in the world. The 2019 event generated $186.82 Million into the Albuquerque and the State of New Mexico economies. For details on events, schedule, entertainment and photographs visit our website www.balloonfiesta.com and follow us on Twitter @BalloonFiesta and Facebook.
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