The weekend long Balloon Festival sponsored by Mesquite Gaming was everything you’d expect a balloon festival to be. This year marked the tenth year Mesquite Gaming has brought the event to the community and each year it gets bigger and better. Attendance increased dramatically over the years as word about the annual festival traveled around the Balloon circuit, community and throughout the media.

Nearly everybody has heard of the annual festival held each year in Albuquerque, NM and attending it is probably on more than a few bucket lists. It is no doubt a marvelous display of color; one you won’t likely see everywhere but there comes a time when enough is replaced with too much.

In talking with several of the pilots and crewmembers, they expressed some dissatisfaction at the New Mexico event lately. The event has gotten too big. Coupled with the new construction/building in the area where the festival is held the landing spots are not as available as they had been in the past. Taking off and finding space in the air is challenging and those who had gone several years said, “It used to be much nicer, now it’s a week of pretty stress-full flying.” Coming to the three day event in Mesquite is a breath of fresh air for many.

Two main reasons the pilots come back each year are because the community is so responsive and interested and Mesquite Gaming is extremely accommodating.

People come to Mesquite from all over Southern Nevada, California, Utah, Idaho and places not yet known. Pilots love to share their passion with others and indulge the community as safe as possible.

Safety is always the first priority with everybody from the sponsors to the crew members and chase teams. In ten years there has not been an incident that would put any damper on the event.

What makes the event so special to Mesquite residents is the hands on opportunity. Mesquite Gaming generously offers community members the opportunity to take flights, work on the ground crew or chase team. Many people find this so enjoyable they do it every year. Nancy Hewett is one community member who got hooked about 6 years ago. She worked as a crew member for a pilot and found the experience so great that she kept his card. The following year she reached out to the pilot directly and offered her help, he accepted and Nancy has been a Mesquite standby crew member each year they’ve held the event since.

Mesquite Today will go live on Monday, Jan. 31 to recap the entire weekend. We were out all three mornings as well as both Night Glow events and have some interviews, video footage/coverage and a ton of pictures to share with you in the upcoming week.

We also have some information on Mesquite Gaming’s other annual events and what’s happening in the future for your entertainment.

For now enjoy some of the video and pictures we’ve already proccessed.

All photos by Teri Nehrenz

Leave a Reply