If you can't make the trip to Albuquerque to attend the largest balloon festival in the world then make a morning trip to Gilbert to watch the pilots fill and launch balloons the colors of Arizona sunsets.
The Arizona Balloon Classic allows you to get up close to the balloons and chat with the pilots who are always happy to share their passion with any interested bystander. The festival offers morning liftoffs, evening balloon glows and hot-air balloon races.
Be sure to check the weather forecast, but I recommend arriving early to watch as the balloons fill up and slowly take flight. The event takes place December 13 - 15 this year and tickets are $10 per person with kids 12 and under getting in free.