Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Residents haven't become jaded from too many balloons.(Balloon Fiesta)

Byline: Jane Mahoney

Traffic, crowds can't keep locals away

Just when Margie Lappin thinks that maybe this year she WON'T attend the Balloon Fiesta, she comes up with a reason to go.

"We find someone who hasn't gone before and we take them," she said.

After all, Lappin, a technician at Sandia Labs, hasn't missed a fiesta since she started wheeling her daughters around the bumpy balloon field in their strollers. The girls are in high school and middle school now. And Lappin, who has escorted everyone from her siblings to friends from hometown New York to the fiesta over the years, still hasn't run out of people to take.

"I love watching someone who has never seen it before," she said. "There's nothing like it when those balloons take off. We sometimes go twice or more each year."

Sure, there are plenty of excuses NOT to go to the Balloon Fiesta: Too many people. …

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