2019 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Has Gone to the Dogs!


Beagle Maximus flies overhead.
Image courtesy of James Cassell

This past Saturday was the start of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, but unfortunately opening day was marred by fog that settled over the launch field during the early morning hours. Only a handful of balloons took off to check the wind directions, and by 8:30 AM, they scrubbed the remaining 600 plus number of balloons from taking off. All that changed the next day when Sunday morning saw a colorful mass ascension of balloons under a perfect New Mexico blue sky.

This Fiesta is one of the premier ballooning events with pilots and balloons arriving from all around the world. 2019 also marks the 48th year that Albuquerque has hosted such a gathering. During those years, the number of balloons taking part has fluctuated from half a dozen to well over a thousand. The special shapes balloons which can range from a cartoon character to a futuristic robot and measure over 150 feet in height are the highlight of the event.

This year, Chloe pointed out to me the increasing number of special shape dog balloons now flying in the Fiesta! That’s right, we have Wagz, Buster the Bulldog, Little Dog, Wes the Wolf, and everyone’s favorite, Beagle Maximus!

Wagz and support crew
Image courtesy of Dean Carlton

Wagz is piloted by Dean Carlton from Danville, Illinois, and features a giant Golden Retriever puppy on the side of the balloon. I understand that Dan has flown Wagz for the Puppy Jake Foundation that provides service dogs for veterans.

Buster the Bulldog
Image courtesy of Paul Burrows

Buster the Bulldog comes to Albuquerque from across the pond - Bristol, Great Britain. Buster is flown by Paul Burrows, an experienced pilot that uses this giant bulldog as an advertising backdrop for any company, or person who wants to shout out their product from high in the sky!

Little Dog
Image courtesy of Valdemir Taveira

Little Dog, which also goes by the name Dogg is owned and operated by Valdemir Taveira, who made the trip to Albuquerque from San Paulo, Brazil. Standing well over 100 feet when inflated, Little Dog in its colorful attire is easily visible in the sky once it takes flight.

Wes the Wolf
Image courtesy of Ashley Moore

Ashley Moore is the registered pilot for Wes the Wolf which is another balloon coming from Great Britain. This time, Wickwar, Gloucestershire is its hometown. Ashley flies Wes to support charities and organizations around Great Britain and the world.

Beagle Maximus
Image courtesy of James Cassell

Beagle Maximus operates from Albuquerque under the pilot and ownership of James Cassell. In flying this huge beagle, the Cassell family and their support crew advertise the importance of adopting foster and homeless pets.

No doubt, the 2019 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta has gone to the dogs!

…Hey Chloe, let’s go for a ride in the Beagle Maximus!


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