Lift your spirits at Albuquerque's light sculpture show

Sharon Niederman,  – December 2, 2004

Unlike the famous fall hot-air balloon festival in Albuquerque, where free-floating craft crowd the sky with a riot of colors, the inflatable sculptures at the city’s Balloon Fiesta Park this month won’t lift off the ground. Instead, the tethered balloons will light up the winter night in a synchronized glow as propane flames illuminate them from within.

You can drive or walk past the 12-foot-high inflatables of storybook characters like Winnie the Pooh and Frosty the Snowman, then stroll along luminaria-lined walkways for a close-up look at two-story light sculptures of dancing polar bears, ice-skating penguins, a whale-riding Santa ― each made of hundreds of colored lightbulbs. Warm up at Mrs. Claus’s Kitchen with hot cocoa, sweet bizcochitos, and green-chile stew, but be sure to stay for the fireworks display around 8.

Hot-air fair

Holiday Fiesta at Balloon Fiesta Park (6–9 Fri–Sun Dec 3–24; $5; Alameda Blvd. at Balloon Museum Dr.; or 505/821-1000).

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