Festivals of the World Series – Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Part 5)

New Mexico, a land prominent for historic architecture and rich heritage of art and culture, hosts one of the enigmatic balloon festival “Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta”. The breathtaking festival, hoisting hundreds of brilliantly created hot air balloons, entices millions of tourists from all over the world to witness and enchant in the spectacular display.

Where is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held?

Albuquerque is the largest city of New Mexico and has been designated as the appropriate place for the mega event. The majestic celebrations occur in a 365-acre park in the city which is almost the same as approximately 54 football grounds. Almost 500 balloons are hurled in the air in multiple colours, shapes, patterns, and designs transforming the air into a dreamy fairyland.

Photo Courtesy : Pixabay

When is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held?

The balloon fiesta is held in October when the weather is pleasant. The climatic conditions at this time of the year assist the pilots in maneuvering the balloons in the air and land then properly. The mornings are calm, the breeze is soothing and the sky is comfortably sunny in Albuquerque in October.

The vivacious event happens in two sessions, one in the morning at around 4:30 AM and the other in the afternoon at around 3:00 PM. Few events happen almost every day whereas few specific ones are held on selected days. The fun-filled event occurs for a duration of 9 days every year.

Photo Courtesy : Pixabay

What is the history behind Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta?

The origin of the festival dates back to 1972. It was inaugurated officially by launching thirteen hor air balloons from a parking lot. The small scale celebration was slowly magnified to an International event, alluring millions of tourists and enthusiast photographers from different countries across the world.

What are the Key Highlights of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta?

The entire nine days of the festival are marked with numerous balloon flying contests and events, live musical shows and performances and sound and light shows in the evenings. With the panoramic view of the Rio Grande valley at the backdrop, the atmosphere around is elevated into a bewildering fairyland.

Mass Ascension

Mass Ascension is a stunning display of a large number of balloons being hurled in the air. The event usually happens early in the mornings on Saturdays and Sundays. The launch occurs in two shifts as the launch directors, dressed up in zebra-striped costumes, coordinate the entire exercise with perfect control and skill. The show is incredible to watch with the coordinators managing the drill safely.

Photo Courtesy : Pixabay

Balloon Glow

The event is conducted during the evenings. The balloons in inflated condition remain at the ground. Once the night starts to descend, the balloons are lighted up together or in intervals. It is incredible to watch the synchronization with which the balloons glow up and glorify the area around the park. A magical beauty mesmerizes the audience, leaving all spellbound with awe and wonder.

Dawn Patrol

The name as it suggests is an event that happens at dawn early in the morning at around 5:45 AM to 6:00 AM. The main purpose of this patrol is to check the weather conditions. The pilots verify whether the climate with the wind patterns will permit easy drift of the balloons throughout the day. Every day the drill is performed to validate the safety and security of the balloons. Though it is formal verification, it has now become a norm to mark the start of each day with the hurling of colorful balloons.

Photo courtesy : pixabay

Special Shape Rodeo

The special show is unique in hosting marvellously shaped special balloons like an astronaut or an alligator and so on. The event is presented on selective 2 days in Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It is the most attractive and popular feature of the festival. The distinctive aspect is the admirable shapes of the balloons often resembling the prominent fiction and cartoon characters. You can also witness balloons shaped like horse carriages floating up in the air. The sky is enlivened with famous storybook characters and movie icons.

If you are eager to hoist a ride in a hot air balloon, you can avail the same with Rainbow Ryders at the event ground. You can also educate yourself and be acquainted with the techniques of hurling a hot air balloon in the air at the Balloon Discovery Center. There is a museum as well which has many exhibits at its store for the viewers.

Tickets for the Albuquerque event are available online. You can attend both the morning and evening shows with the same ticket. If you are planning for a trip to New Mexico and want to enjoy the festival, do not miss the dates from 3rd October till 11th October.


A blogger interested in travelling and exploring new places and sharing ideas with all. Curious about the unique features of a place and its ethereal beauty.

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