Elephant Butte Balloon Regatta and Kite Flying Event


Elephant Butte Lake Annual Balloon Regatta Photo by Julia Cooper
Elephant Butte Lake Annual Balloon Regatta

The blue skies over Elephant Butte Lake will be dotted with CFO’s (colorful flying objects) during the weekend of April 21-22, 2001. Hot air balloons and kites will soar into the sky early Saturday morning, weather permitting, and will repeat their colorful performance early Sunday morning.

The Elephant Butte Balloon Regatta is a unique event in that each hot air balloon is teamed with a boat and its crew.  Balloons are launched along the beaches and, if the winds are right, they maneuver over the water, drop down over their assigned boat, retrieve a baton from a boat crew member, rise back into the air and head for a target. The balloonist dropping a baton closest to the target wins the competition.

On Saturday, after the balloons have landed, all eyes will be on the sky once again as the kite flying event gets underway at 10 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m.  The Kite Festival will be held at the Elephant Butte State Park Reservation Area. Entry to the park and the event is free and open to anyone who can fly a kite, from children to senior citizens.   A registration booth will be set up in the reservation area for all entrants.  Award certificates will be given for participation:   smallest kite, largest kite, best homemade kite, most beautiful kite, best of show, youngest overall flier, oldest overall flier, and field courtesy.  Entry levels will include pre-teen, teen, adult, and senior (55 and over).  Two Candy Drops are planned, one for children ages two through six, and another for children ages seven through ten.  The Festival will also include exhibitions, kite building workshops, and a kite hospital for those whose kites needing minor repairs.  See our website at www.patpendergrass.com/kite.html.  This is a “family affair,” so grab a blanket, pack a snack, and come out and fly your kites!

Vendors selling quality items will be setting up under a tent in a locale near Quality Inn.  T-shirts and pins made especially for the 21st Annual Balloon Regatta will be for sale throughout Saturday.

An outdoor barbeque on the grounds of Quality Inn begins at 6 p.m. Open to the public, the menu will include barbequed brisket, beans, cole slaw and an assortment of beverages.  Tickets are for sale at the chamber office. Balloonists and their crews will be at the barbeque, so you might get a chance to talk with the pilot who flies your favorite balloon!

This will be a fun, family-oriented day, so pack the kids and the car and head for Elephant Butte for a “butteyful” day or weekend.