Four balloons displayed during a three day event
The Cortez Rendezvous Balloon Glow took place on a calm summer evening Saturday in Parque de Vida.
A large crowd of families and friends gathered on the grass as four balloons were filled with bursts of fire, accenting colorful patterns against a moonlit night sky.
The three-day hot air balloon festival was dedicated to Cookie See, its longtime organizer, who recently passed away at 78.
“She was an incredible pilot, an incredible person,” said Jennie Pendleton, friend and co-organizer of the event. “She had a passion for sports, loved flying and loved people.”
See, of Albuquerque, ran the Cortez Rendezvous Balloon Rally for 18 years and was well known and respected in the sport.
“Everything I know about ballooning I learned from her,” Pendleton said. “Those who knew or met her saw that she was one of a kind and had a special spirit. We miss her every day.
Twenty-two balloons took part in the rally this weekend. Rain showers prevented a launch on Friday, but on Saturday the balloons lifted off and drifted southwest. Everything went well, Pendleton said, and some pilots flew Sunday morning.
Pilot Marissa Myers flew her balloon, named “Nizhoni Pagosa”. The Navajo name “Nizhoni” is translated as “beautiful” in English.
“The ball has been in our family for 40 years,” she said.
Its Kachina Sunface design comes from the Hopi culture. Myers and his family had planned to fly on Sunday.