A Fiesta visitor’s day begins when the gates open at around 4am and they merge into building foot and vehicular traffic as everyone streams onto the the balloon field. The smart guests are bundled up against the surprisingly chilly pre-dawn temperatures. A party in the dark commences as the midway opens and food, souvenirs and freebies become available. Balloons are stretched out on the ground from one end of the field to the other end, ready to inflate as soon as the Launch Directors (aka Zebras) give the green flag for a launch. Weather permitting, 6 balloons called the Dawn Patrol depart before sunrise to gather wind information and report that info back to the field for the pilot briefing at 6:15am. If weather is agreeable, a green flag is raised, the balloons are released to launch and the camera shutters start fluttering like hummingbird wings around a freshly filled feeder. Here is my report and a few pics from one of the mornings that I visited the field just as the Dawn Patrol lifted off.