Solar eclipse, hot air balloons intersect for once in a lifetime event

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Festival goers in one state will witness a once-in-a-lifetime event on Saturday.

Those attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is celebrating its 51st year, but no total or annular solar eclipses will happen again over Albuquerque for at least the next 200 years, according to

Festival-goers said they were excited about being able to witness the intersection of the two events.

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“It’s a phenomenon that I think -- everybody’s individual, I can only speak for my own experience and how I feel about that -- it’s going to be amazing and I can just always remember it,” Catherine Jakobs, hot air balloon crew member and pilot in training told Reuters.

Vendors hope it leads to increased sales and one homeschooling family who traveled for nine hours to reach the festival said they were grateful for the educational opportunity.

The classic and signature hot air balloons will not be flying during the eclipse itself for safety reasons, but early birds had the chance to view a mass ascension of hot air balloons in the morning and balloons will still be in the air as the partial eclipse begins.