The more the merrier.

Some people contend that the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is "too crowded" these days. Must differ with this assessment even though normally, we don't like crowds.

In this case, however, the sleepy dawn throngs are happy and pleasant (you've got to be a Certain Sort to get to an event by 6:30 am) and the fact is, the more BALLOONS, the better! Nothing compares to seeing hundreds of balloons launch and then soar away in the clear blue sky.

This week-long event, with its mass ascensions, balloon glows, and races, is unique to New Mexico. It's held here because the weather is pretty reliable. More than 700 balloons participated this year.