My husband and I went to the opening of the 2010 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this past weekend. The opening ceremony (see picture 1) culminated in this balloon rising above the crowd with the American flag waving below as the national anthem was sung. Very moving. Picture 2 shows a balloon being rolled out to start the inflation process. Picture 3 shows the fans that are placed next to the balloon to start inflating the balloon. Picture 4 shows a “referee” giving the thumbs up for takeoff. Picture 5 shows the balloon of the best bank in the world, Bank of the West, La Fonda’s bank. The rest of the pictures speak for themselves and if you have never had the opportunity to be on the field as the balloons are preparing to lift off, it is truly a magical experience. The Fiesta continues through Sunday, October 10. Visit http://www.balloonfiesta.com/ for the schedule of events.