At the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the absolute favorite event with families, and even grown-up kids like me, is The Special Shape Rodeo.™ Started in 1989, it has now become replicated at hot air ballooning events around the world by other festivals having added some kind of special shape event to their program.
For 2013, there is a list of 84 special shaped balloons that will make their appearance in Albuquerque. (The Special Shapes Rodeo is scheduled for Thursday, October 10 and Friday, October 11 at 7:00 am.) Some of my favorites include Airabelle, The Flying Cow, Pumpkin Head, Angry Bird, Ham-Let (a flying pink pig), Sushi (a loveable gold fish) and the 3 Bumble Bees.
The flying cow is sponsored by Creamland of Albuquerque, and serves New Mexico “with fresh, quality milk, culture and ice cream products.” It’s been chosen as the People’s Choice Favorite Special Shape a total of 5 times, and first flew in Albuquerque in 1988. But get this: when inflated, it is 80 feet tall and 120 feet long, with an envelope weighing 910 pounds. And it takes a crew of 16 to maneuver it. It’s absolutely massive! Plus, the udder is bigger than life.