On March 1, 2005 both houses of the state legislature passed a bill approving the Hot Air Balloon as the state’s official aircraft. Governor Bill Richardson signed the bill into law.
The state’s love of hot air balloons started with flyers, Bill and Sid Cutter, who decided in 1973 to give a hot air balloon to their mother for her birthday. They then enticed a few former New Mexico Military Institute graduates into developing a balloon to give more visibility to their alma mater.
Other New Mexicans got enthusiastic about hot air ballooning so a balloon rally was set in Roswell in conjunction with the Wool Bowl Thanksgiving 1973. Then came the World Balloon Championship contests that evolved finally into the First International Balloon Fiesta in 1977.
Now every October in Albuquerque, “the Balloon Capitol of the world,” the skies are full of hundreds of beautiful, colorful, and unusual shaped balloons from all over the world. On the ground are thousands of spectators stretching their necks to view these sights and their pocketbooks thereby assisting the economic stability of the state.