Balloon Fiesta is going back to its roots. This year’s poster features some well known cartoon characters that haven’t made an appearance on the poster since the early ’70s.
“This poster is the beginning of the story, it takes place in the morning,” said artist Daniel Killen.
They’re the memories of your childhood, Roadrunner making another escape from Wile E. Coyote.
“I drew my inspiration from my travels through the southwest when I was much younger, and I loved the Zia sun symbol,” said Killen.
The Looney Tunes artist whose work can be seen in films like “Space Jam” and “The Iron Giant” is not a local guy, but made sure each detail in his artwork was true to New Mexico.
“Inspired by all the beautiful colors of the Albuquerque area, especially the flowers and the native butterflies,” he said.
Wondering why the poster features the famous characters?
“The two characters were featured in the very first official poster,” said Killen.
Only 13 copies were ever made of the original Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner posters for the inaugural Balloon Fiesta in 1972. Some were hand signed by each pilot.
The cartoon duo then made a return together in 1974.
“This is a way of bringing it around full circle, a half-century of this fun little coyote chasing this roadrunner,” said Killen.
It’s the first of four posters from the southern California artist leading up to the 50th Balloon Fiesta in 2021.
“Each poster will in some way involve the Roadrunner being chased by Wile E. Coyote,” he said.
As for an appearance by Bugs Bunny, who’s known for his famous line about Albuquerque… that’s still a mystery.
“The next three, you’ll just have to wait and see how that story plays out,” said Killen.
The unsigned poster goes for $75, or $150 for a signed copy.