Creamland™ Dairy, a DFA farmer-owned regional brand in Albuquerque, N.M., has a very special lady for a mascot, and her name is Airabelle.

Airabelle is a 120 foot by 80 foot, 910-pound hot air balloon, and she took flight for the first time in 1989. When she made her first appearance in the sky since 2018 this year at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®, it was a sight to see.

Because of Airabelle’s large size, it takes a village (and perfect wind conditions) to get her successfully up in the air. At least 16 people must carry Airabelle, and the wind should ideally be traveling north – toward open fields large enough for her to land in. All of the hard work is worth it though because Airabelle is a cherished member of the Albuquerque community.

“She’s an iconic balloon to say the least,” says Lee Ray Salazar, sales manager. “The community was absolutely ecstatic to have her back. We took the year off in 2019, and the fiesta was canceled in 2020. Airabelle was met with a ton of applause when we brought her out.”

Hear from Cody Baca, a member of Creamland’s balloon crew, who shared more with local news station KRQE about what it takes to crew and fly this special lady.