Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

More than 400 balloons light up for glow.(Balloon Fiesta)

Byline: Jane Mahoney

Balloon pilot Scott Appelman remembers how awed he was at the sight of three tethered hot air balloons glowing against the night sky and snowy ski slopes at a Durango, Colorado, winter festival about 15 years ago.

"I thought it was pretty cool," said the owner of Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Company.

Appelman, then a member of the fiesta's board of directors, brought the idea back to Albuquerque, where the fiesta board was looking for a nighttime event.

"The first time we did it (in 1987), we had 225 balloons participating," he said. "Then, it was a new concept for most pilots."

The evening balloon glows have now become one of the most widely anticipated events of the fiesta week, drawing thousands of spectators who marvel at about 400 hot air balloons glowing luminously against the nighttime sky. …

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