Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival

SOUTHWEST SKY SHOW: It's true that the Southwest's most famous autumntime sky show wrapped last month. We're talking about the Kodak International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, of course, and really, it isn't just the Southwest's most famous autumn sky show; it's pretty much the most famous balloon festival in the world, regardless of season. But the deserts have many notable parties for those who love their flying gondolas, and the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival is chief among them. That's because some three dozen or so balloons show at the Yuma and then? Yeah. The river. Something about seeing all the bright envelopes drifting high above a twisty waterway pleases the eye and soul. The 2011 festival is scheduled for Nov. 18-20.

ON THE SCHEDULE: The Saturday night balloon glow will definitely attract a crowd, but we like getting up at dawn -- or before dawn -- to see the balloons gets tall. If you can't make it out for the pre-Thanksgiving party, but still want to put your dunes-time in soon, note that a Yuma Taco Trail tour kicks off in the new year.

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