The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: October 7 – 15, 2017
Starting with just 13 balloons in 1972, this beloved annual aviation event now attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. As the largest gathering of hot air balloons in the world, the event runs for 9 days with over 500 balloons from over a dozen countries participating.
About the Event
Top annual events include the morning and evening glows, flying competitions, and Flight of the Nations. In more recent years, the festival has grown to include the Music Fiesta, the Chainsaw Carving Invitational, an Artisan Market, and street performers and musicians.
The Special Shapes Rodeo is another crowd favorite, where you will see nontraditional balloons such as Darth Vader, flying pigs, the Liberty Bell and an astronaut gliding to the sky. In addition, on the first day you have the rare chance to see the Gas Balloon Race Inflation and Launch; the beginning of a three-day long-distance race to land on the east coast.
If you or your kids are the hands-on type, the 7-Eleven Balloon Discovery Center lets you explore interactive exhibits to learn everything about balloons and how they fly. The NASA aeronautics tent will be displaying new green aviation concepts.
By far, the most notable and incredible session is the Mass Ascension, an event where all 500+ balloons are launched within a 2-hour span from the park. Whether you can visit for a day or a week, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is a breathtaking event you won’t forget. To see some of the excitement from last year, check out the pictures and videos on the Fiesta’s Instagram Page and follow the event on Pinterest.
With an event attracting upwards of a million visitors throughout the week, planning is key. The Guest Guide provides all the information including schedule, maps, parking guides, and driving directions from all the southwestern states. Also, take advantage of the Park and Ride opportunities to help avoid traffic congestion and consider taking a train or shuttles from Santa Fe instead of trying to stay in the city. If you’re planning on staying for a longer length of time, you can also inquire about RV reservations within walking distance of the launch field.