Go to the World-Famous Albuquerque Balloon Festival!
Be there with your family as over 500 hot air balloons dot the morning sky at the biggest hot air balloon festival in the world! Since 1972, The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors, all eager to see hundreds of balloons sailing through the air. Don’t expect to sit in the stands at this event! Guests get to be part of the action, walking through Balloon Fiesta Park’s 78-acre launch field and talking to balloon pilots!
Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico
When: The following table lists dates for the upcoming years:
Age: All ages can join the fun!
Event Info: Mornings kick off at 6:00 AM with the Dawn Patrol, balloons that take off in the dark and fly until it is light outside. This gives other balloon pilots the chance to watch and get an idea of wind speeds and directions at different altitudes. On weekends, the Dawn Patrol Show is choreographed to music, and followed by Mass Ascension, one of Balloon Fiesta’s most spectacular events! On Saturday and Sunday mornings, all the 500+ participating balloons will launch into the air. Balloons will launch in two waves and should all be afloat in a span of less than 2 hours! Weekday mornings host other special events like ballooning competitions or their “Special Shapes Rodeo” where only balloons in shapes launch (such as a cow or piggy bank).
The evening session is famous for the Balloon Glow. After sunset, hot air balloons will fire up their burners, creating a warm light in the evening sky. This static display of glowing balloons is breathtaking! After the Balloon Glow, enjoy a spectacular fireworks display! (For evening events, be sure to bring a flashlight.)
Additional entertainment includes various bands and children’s acts. Select days will host a Chainsaw Carving Invitational where 9 professional chainsaw carvers will compete to create amazing sculptures from a log in only 90 minutes. You could even win a chainsaw or sculpture in a raffle or live auction! Also, check out the Balloon Discovery Center for interactive exhibits that teach you about the sport of ballooning.
Admission to the balloon festival is $8.00 per session and kids 12 and under get in for free! Arrive early, since some events attract crowds of over 100,000 people. For weekend events, plan to arrive at the park by 4:00-4:30am. During evening events, try to be at the park by 4pm. Gates to Balloon Fiesta Park open for the morning session at 4:30am and for the evening session at 3:30pm. Parking is $10. If you prefer not to drive, shuttle options are also available. Be sure to keep track of the weather as balloons cannot fly in inclement conditions.
Contact Info: 1-888-422-7277
Bonus: If you’re in Albuquerque on the Friday prior to the balloon festival, check out Albuquerque Aloft. Registered air balloon pilots will launch their balloons from designated elementary schools throughout Albuquerque, giving you a visual preview of Balloon Fiesta!
Feature image: a4gpa auf flickr.com [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
Slider, Balloon Glow:By NoTalkMan (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Slider, Early Morning Ascension: Sba2 at English Wikipedia [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons