Tag Archives: Fiesta


2 Jun


Judy Wills



Have you ever seen a hot-air balloon floating overhead?  Really neat, huh?  We’ve been enraptured with them for quite a while.  The sister of a friend and her new husband “escaped” from their outdoor wedding reception in a hot-air balloon.  How neat is that?

 We had heard about the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for years, but had never attended one.  It was started after we married and moved away from Albuquerque.   In talking with Fred’s parents, we all decided to head to New Mexico for that great event that year, 2001.  It was the 30th anniversary of the Fiesta.  Fred’s youngest sister and her husband thought it would be fun to join us, as well.  So we made our hotel reservations, airplane reservations, and were getting quite excited.

And then….September 11, 2001 happened.

We were scheduled to fly out in early October, 2001.  After September 11, all flights in the U.S. were grounded.  We were afraid that our flight had been cancelled, as well.  But the grounding was lifted, and we were able to fly out as scheduled.  I’ve heard so many people say they have stopped flying after September 11 – they were just too afraid.  And my thought is…where is your faith?!  Much safer than traveling long distances in a car…etc.

In any case, we flew out as planned and arrived quite safely in Albuquerque, city of my heart.  We connected with the rest of the family, and began our Balloon Fiesta adventure.  It was absolutely wonderful!   Completely fascinating to watch the balloons go from flat on the ground, to upright, to up in the air in a matter of short minutes!  Breathtaking!

But the best day was the day of the Mass Ascension.  If I recall correctly, there were over 800 balloons going up that day.  They were laid out in a pattern, and went up in planned sequence.  But they did all go up.  And that was the day they had the different “shapes” to the balloons, as well.  A cow (Creamland Dairy)…



a Wells Fargo stage coach (as well as a piggy bank)…

















a beer stein…






Mr. Potato Head


Mr Potato Head

Mr Potato Head


Smokey the Bear…



Smokey the Bear

Smokey the Bear



a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Cone…



Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Cone

Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Cone



Tony the Tiger cereal….



Tony the Tiger

Tony the Tiger



a shoe (Famous Footwear)…



Famous Footwear

Famous Footwear


and a birthday cake congratulating the Fiesta on their 30th anniversary.



Happy 30th Birthday!

Happy 30th Birthday!


We were able to get down close to one of the balloons and watch as they readied it for take off.  Fascinating.



Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Fred has an aversion to large crowds, so it surprised him greatly to find how “uncrowded” this all felt.  As we recall, there were probably well over 100,000 people there!  Of course, it was held on one of the valley floors in Albuquerque, so that helped – lots of room to spare.

That evening, we went to one of the Indian casinos in town, and were able to watch a night-time ascension.  Really beautiful.










Rising Flag

But it is one of our fondest memories – one we recall and treasure.  One year, our oldest daughter and her husband gave us a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of that event, and we had a great deal of fun putting it together.  Brought back great memories.






Fiesta Dresses

9 Dec


 Judy Wills  


Growing up in New Mexico was a great experience.  Of course, we moved there when I was only four years old, so I didn’t know any different.  The Indian/Mexican culture was just something that was normal to me.

 When I was old enough to learn how to sew, my Grandmother and Mother began teaching me the sewing machine by having me sew row-upon-row-upon-row of trim on yards and yards of fabric.  It was all straight stitching, but some rows were metallic trim, some were rick-rack, some needed only a single stitch to hold it down, others required stitching on the top and bottom edges of the trim/braid.  Very boring.  But it gave me a sense of what sewing was all about.

All those yards and yards of fabric would eventually be made into a Fiesta Dress, or Squaw Dress, as some called it.  Three tiers, each one “longer” than the one above it.  Those dresses could be made from just about fabric and color combination.  I remember a royal blue fabric with nothing but copper trim – one of my favorites.  I remember a winter dress made from blue corduroy – no trim needed.  I remember one made from fabric that looked like bandana design – no trim needed on that one, either.  I remember one that was made in light cotton – white – with red and red-and-white trim.  It was great – until I washed it the first time – and the red ran like crazy!!  So my Aunt Jessie took the dress (blouse and skirt) and dyed them beige.  For some reason, the red didn’t show where it had run, and really looked rather classy with the red trim.  Another favorite of mine.  Oh, so many dresses.

And the skirts were not left “pouffy” like they might be today – they were hand-pleated after being soaked in starch!  And to keep the pleats in, we rolled the skirt into itself and stuffed it into a nylon stocking.  Jessie’s dogs LOVED to get at those to fight with them!

Dogs fighting

But those dresses were considered in good taste no matter where they were worn.  They could be worn to a very casual setting…..they could be worn to work….they could be worn to a fancy dinner setting – all worked equally well.

I’ve never seen them worn outside of New Mexico, however.  So when I took them with us to Texas, they were not the “in style” to wear.  I still have them, but can’t seem to find the right place to wear them now – even if I could fit in them anymore!

But they were just right for New Mexico.

Blue skirt

red skirt



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