The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest balloon festival in the world. Each year it draws nearly one million visitors. It was so exciting to be a part of the balloon festival in 2016 and I look forward to returning in 2017. This year the festival runs from October 7 – 15. It is 46th year for the fiesta.
Activities take place at the Balloon Fiesta Park which is the size of 54 football fields! The energy of the large crowds at 5am was magical, just in time to watch the Dawn Patrol start off the morning session. Whether you book a balloon ride or not this is an amazing event to be a part of, at least once in your lifetime. Meet with pilots and crew from all over the world and experience what the world of ballooning is all about. In 2017 they expect around 700 + balloons in various shapes and sizes.
The night glows and fireworks are something you don’t want to miss!
Contact me to book your trip to Albuquerque and your balloon ride during the fiesta. Don’t leave this until last minute or you just may miss your chase to fly in the largest festival in the world. Make 2017 the year you check this item off your ‘bucket-list’!
Visiting Albuquerque at times other than the festival and looking to book a balloon ride? Let me hook you up with Air Carriage’s balloon rides over the Rio Grande River.
Here’s a few “good to know” points taken from the FAQ page on the Albuquerque Balloon Festival website.
Where does Balloon Fiesta take place? Balloon Fiesta takes place at Balloon Fiesta Park, which is located north of Alameda Boulevard, one mile west of I-25.
When should I arrive at Balloon Fiesta Park? Since crowds for some of our events are in excess of 80,000 people, arriving sooner is better. 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 open at 4:30am and 3:30pm.
Where do we watch the balloons? Because of our 44-year safety record, we are one of the only balloon (aviation) events where you are actually able to walk among the balloons and talk to the pilots. We are a hands-on event, but please be courteous to hot air balloons and do not step on or over any.
Where do we park? We have general parking lots on the north and south ends of the park, it is $15 for each session you are at the park. Each parking lot is color-coded and the gates are numbered, so please remember the color and number of the gate through which you entered the field.
Is there an alternative to driving to Balloon Fiesta Park yourself? Yes, we offer Park & Ride locations throughout Albuquerque. Tickets should be available in June.
What types of entertainment happen at the park? Besides the balloons, there is a stage located in the center of Main Street that schedules various bands and children’s acts. We also have roving entertainment and interactive education at the Balloon Discovery Center.
Who organizes the Balloon Fiesta? Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Inc., organizes the Balloon Fiesta each year. It is non-profit organization with 13 full-time staff members.
Is the Park handicap accessible? Yes. Hard-surface handicap parking near the entrance gates is available for the regular parking fee ($15.00 per session) each time you park. Located near the Information Booths, mobility scooters, wheelchairs, strollers and wagons are available for rental on a first come first serve basis. Courtesy shuttles also travel the length of the park and into some of the parking lots.
What do Chase Crews do? Chase crews help the pilot inflate and deflate his/her balloon for each flight. If you are interested in being on a chase crew, you can register online at http://www.balloonfiesta.com, call to have an application sent to you, or visit the Chase Crew tower in the southeast corner of the launch field to sign up.
What is Dawn Patrol? Dawn Patrol is a group of selected balloons that launch prior to sunrise on the days of Mass Ascensions.
What is a Mass Ascension? A mass ascension is when all 500+ balloons launch from Balloon Fiesta Park.
What is the Special Shape Rodeo™? The Special Shape Rodeo is two days where special shape balloons are showcased at Balloon Fiesta. Special Shape balloons are the only ones that will launch from Balloon Fiesta Park on those mornings (the standard shape balloons will fly into the park) and will also have a “Glowdeo” in the evening. A “Glowdeo” is a static display of the Special Shape balloons. Special Shape balloons can be shaped into almost anything you can imagine. Some examples include a stagecoach, piggy bank or a cow.
What are the dates of future Balloon Fiestas? October 7-15 (2017) October 6-14 (2018) October 5-13 (2019) October 3-11 (2020).
Are there places to eat on the field? Yes. There are food concessions at Balloon Fiesta Park serving a variety of foods. There is over 1/3 of a mile of concessions on the field. Watch the amount of alcohol that you drink. You will be at a mile-high altitude which could increase the alcohol’s affect.