The Cortez Rendezvous Balloon Glow took place during a calm summer evening Saturday in Parque de Vida.
A large crowd of families and friends gathered on the grass as four balloons were filled with bursts of fire, accentuating colorful patterns against a moonlit night sky.
The three-day balloon festival was dedicated to Cookie See, its longtime organizer, who recently died at age 78.
“She was an incredible pilot, an incredible person,” said friend and event co-organizer Jennie Pendleton. “She had a passion for the sport, loved to fly and loved the people.”
See, of Albuquerque, ran the Cortez Rendezvous Balloon Rally for 18 years and was well known and respected in the sport.
“Everything I know about ballooning I learned from her,” Pendleton said. “Those who knew her or met her saw she was one of a kind and had a special spirit. We miss her every day.”
Twenty-two balloons participated in the rally this weekend. On Friday, rain showers prevented a launch, but on Saturday, the balloons lifted off and drifted southwest. Everything went well, Pendleton said, and some pilots flew Sunday morning.
Pilot Marissa Myers flew her balloon, named “Nizhoni Pagosa.” The Navajo name “Nizhoni” is translated as “beautiful” in English.
“The balloon has been in our family for 40 years,” she said.
Its Kachina Sunface design is from the Hopi culture. Myers and her family planned to fly Sunday.