The 2020 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, the largest hot air balloon festival in the world, is falling victim to COVID-19.
Its cancellation marks the first year since 1972 the event has not taken flight.
Each October the skies in that area of New Mexico had filled with hundreds of colorful balloons and 600 people were expected for this year's 49th annual event, which has been postponed until Oct. 2-10, 2021.
Locally, a decision about the Colorado Springs Labor Day Liftoff in Memorial Park is to be finalized by mid-July, organizers said. The fate of the balloon festival will depend on Colorado coronavirus guidelines for crowd gatherings at that time, they said. Updated news and information is available at coloradospringslabordayliftoff.com.
The Albuquerque announcement this week cited "the safety of our pilots, guests, sponsors, staff and volunteers. In the wake of COVID-19 and its continued impacts, we must stay dedicated to upholding that commitment."
Albuquerque organizers said the status of the virus and New Mexico Public Health orders that would be in place more than three months in the future made it difficult to proceed with plans for the fiesta.