28 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2022 Media Guide BALLOON FIESTA HISTORY 50 YEARS OF BALLOON FIESTA HISTORY 1972 was the first year of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Events included the 1st Roadrunner-Coyote Balloon Race and tours of the surrounding towns and pueblos. 1973 hosted the First World Championships, crowning of the Balloon Fiesta Queen, the first mass ascension and Balloon Fiesta parade. 1974 was the third annual Balloon Fiesta and a new Balloon Fiesta Queen was crowned. 1975 marked the introduction of the AAAA Cloudbouncer Balloon Rally, and the Balloon Fiesta was permanently moved to October. It also saw the introduction of the Air Force Thunderbirds, as well as the balloon seminar and the trade show. 1976 was the year that the AIBF became incorporated, and introduced the KODAK Giant Film Box Drop, the Tumbleweed Drop, helicopter performances, a parachute drop and the sunrise prayer service. 1977 encompassed not only the traditional Mass Ascension, but also the Annual Balloon Bash, a parade, and flying competitions. 1978 marked the first Zoo party, the “Natural Light” Chicken Flying Contest, as well as balloon dances, Mass Ascensions, the KODAK Film Drop and the Blue Angels Flying team from Kirtland Air Force Base 1979 was the first year of the official Balloon Fiesta poster—and still had all of the traditional events like the Mass Ascension, parade and sunrise prayer service. 1980 was the year that the US Navy Leapfrogs joined the festivities, and the Balloon Fiesta started the Key Grab as well as the Best Dressed Balloon Crew Contest. The Kiwanis club also joined and sold VIP parking for $0.25. 1981 was the tenth Balloon Fiesta and featured the first video briefing, the first air show, road run, gas race and Jim Franklin’s Wild Waco air show. The Thunderbirds preformed at Kirtland Air Force Base, and the US Navy Leapfrogs also joined the celebration. 1982 marked the first unfortunate event in the history of the Balloon Fiesta—there was a fatality at an official event. The 11th annual Balloon Fiesta included the Mule Balloon Bust, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, the Morgan Horse and Carriage Show, and a costume ball as well as a new kite flying contest. 1983 incorporated a 10k run, radio controlled aircraft and performances from high school bands around the state. 1984 included a kite flying demo, the first Park and Rides, the US Army “Golden Knights” Parachute Team and a picnic in addition to all of the traditional events. 1985 kept up with the times and included a bike and trikes/BMX race team demo, a Frisbee demo, the Albuquerque Vaulters, the Masters of the Universe, the Bob Sears Air Show, NASA Aerovan and a toga party. [CONTINUED]

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