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How you doing?
I got into ballooning by accident.
Slowing down a little bit.
This is my 32nd year and this is my 20th year here at Albuquerque.
We are just flying above the surface of the earth like, you know, really, you know,close to the ground or high up.
I mean, it's unique.
You have a few types of aviation where you can just float above the ground.
So, yeah, after that first flight, it's like you're hooked.
This is the biggest ballooning event in the world by far.
So, every year, they kind of pared it down.
Now they settled between 550 and 600 balloons.
I've been coming out for 40 years, since I came out of here for college.
And it's fabulous every single time.
Can't beat it.
It screams New Mexico.
I don't know another place that has something remotely close to this.
It's almost like a tradition to come every year.
So, every New Mexican knows that it's the balloon time.
There are balloons here from, I think, this year's 17 countries in the world.
Well, the festival started 48 years ago with only 12 balloons to start with.
And it happened basically in celebration of the founder's mother's birthday.
And so here we are 48 years later.
But I would imagine that we're going to be somewhere between 800,000 and a million over the nine-day period of the festival.
The balloons themselves are located in a large launch field,but the crowd can go right up to them and touch them.
I am inspired by it.
One of the things that I heard yesterday,which really touched my heart,was a young boy telling his mother this is the best day ever.
And so when you hear things like that,it just kind of puts it all in perspective and it makes you feel like you're doing a good thing.
See you next year!