October Mission Albuquerque Intel


Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2017

Location: Albuquerque

XPets pack your bags. You’re going to Albuquerque.

About the Fiesta

Picture a connect-the-dots rainbow of mammoth balloons filling the sky, from the horizon to the stratosphere, while thousands of tiny-as-ants onlookers pepper the flats below. This is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which takes place each year at the southern end of the fabled Sangre de Cristo Mountains, just east of Navajo country and an hour from 400-year-old Santa Fe. From the early sunrise Dawn Patrol to the evening’s “Glowdeo” parade, balloon races, and much more, this event is a spectacle of wonder for all ages. The festival is book-ended by two weekends in October with balloon die-hards holed up in Albuquerque for the entire event.

From Humble Beginnings to Epic Proportions

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta began in 1972 with a mere 13 balloons. This was set up at the Coronado Shopping Mall for 20,000 spectators in a roadrunner vs. coyote-style chase—one balloon in the lead as the roadrunner, while the others play the role of coyote. In 1975, the World Hot Air Balloon Championships merged with the fiesta, causing its reach and size to expand. The fiesta grew steadily in size every year until 2000, when over a thousand entrants forced officials to cap the official number of balloons participating in the race at 750. This limitation emphasized a quality-over-quantity aesthetic that has upped the ante for balloon design each year, yielding exclusively elaborate and colorful balloons for what has become the biggest balloon convention in the world. Both European-style balloons filled with precious helium gas and the more common fire-warmed hot-air balloons, whose glowing side effect is utilized in the night flights, make appearances.

But we can check all that out after the mission because this month we’re taking to the skies dudes!

Climb aboard your hot air balloon, or just sit back and watch the huge colourful balloons ascend into the sunset, while tucking into BBQ noms. These magnificent balloons light up the sky with their propane heaters gently puff puffing along in the wind, their baskets suspended below them where their passengers stand looking down at the festival.

But wait? picks up telephone HQ just received a call that there’s going to be some smuggling going on, someone is trying to take packages across the State border into Colorado. The contents are unknown, we’re told its a need to know situation. Some have said it’s cases of spray tan and hair spray for President Trump, others have said it’s a range of stiletto heels for Melania! But whatever is in those packages we need to identify where they are and in what balloon so we can track them down and stop this sneaky operation being carried out.

These packages could be anywhere on the hot air balloons, outside, inside, in the baskets, attached to the passengers, so we need to keep our eyes open, and make a note of the exact number of packages to let HQ know at the end of the adventure how many in total so we know we have them all.

Now you can hop aboard one of the balloons already at the festival or you can bring your own! Just make sure it’s inflated in time and your basket’s properly attached. If you’re flying you’ll need your special XPet powers to grab any packages you see in neighbouring balloons. If you’ve decided you’ll stay on the ground keeping the BBQ safe you’ll need to shout out instructions and directions to XPets up in the sky

At the end of the mission we’ll tweet the usual Competition pic so keep your eyes peeled and don’t forget to use the hashtags #XPSHQ (and #XPCOMP when tweeting your answers).

Once we’ve found all the packages, you need to tweet at the end of the mission:

1. The total number of packages found
2. And of course your caption for our photo caption competition.
3. And finally the correct answers to the quiz.

The first one to get all the right answers wins. But Nonny & the team at HQ get to decide who is the overall winner by choosing the best caption!

So sharpen those pencils, get those notebooks ready, iron those capes, squeeze into that lycra, and meet up at the Balloon Fest! I’ll be by the hog roast making sure it’s cooked properly. Well someone’s gotta do it.

Good luck Dudes and Dudettes!

Nonny Mouse OVR and Out! Rushes off to check bicycle pump and camping gas cylinders.


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