Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2014

My son in law while visiting his family in Albuquerque made acquaintance, as he is apt to do, with the chase crew leader for a family that flies their balloons at the annual fiesta while waiting at line at a restaurant. He my daughter and their children for every year after that have become members of that chase crew. My first ever experience with balloons was at the 2014 Fiesta when my wife, other daughter, and I met them in Albuquerque in 2014. The images that follow tell the rest of the story.

The only thing that wasn't fun about the Fiesta was getting up at 4 a.m. and fighting the traffic to the location. The Nilz family has several hot air balloons. The largest is the  Cactus seen here in its bag having been extracted from the truck before the sun's arrival.  It is about to be spread out on the protective large blue tarp.  
A large crew of volunteers is needed to get this cactus to fly so all hands, even small hands help out.

After steel cables secure the Cactus from premature flight the gondola is assembled and attached to the balloon .  These two gentlemen held the brown skirt open so a young lady and another gentleman, each manning a very large fan, filled the balloon with  air.  Mrs. Nilz enters the Cactus to make sure there are no leaks. 
The Cactus waits in anticipation for clearance to fly from the guys in referee shirts.
Notified The signal given to Mr. Nilz by that Cacuthat his flight is next

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