The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual nine-day event that takes place in early October. The Fiesta is the largest hot air balloon festival in the U.S. with well over 500 balloons each year. According to a recent study, the Balloon Fiesta attracted an estimated 887,970 guests over the nine-day event in 2017 and it generated $101.75 million direct economic impacts in Albuquerque area. But it’s so much more than just facts and figures…
Most of us think about Bugs Bunny and the wrong turn he made when we hear the word “Albuquerque.” If you’re lucky enough to be passing through the Albuquerque area during those nine days in October, there’s no getting lost, sorry Bugs. The sky is dotted with brightly colored hot air balloons day and night. It’s truly an awe-inspiring sight that you have to see for yourself. May I suggest starting with the Balloon Fiesta time-lapse videos of past years?
While the Fiesta centers around balloons primarily, there are so many more activities that go on during the week.
- There’s a Chainsaw Carving competition that occurs throughout the Fiesta. Chainsaw Sculpture is a relatively new art form that has gained enthusiasts all over the world.
- If chainsaw carving isn’t your thing, there is a Music Fiesta. Music Fiesta has welcomed some amazing musical artists over the years such as the Marshall Tucker Band, Little Texas, Darius Rucker, Charlie Worsham, Sawyer Brown, David Nail, Josh Turner, Gloriana, The Band Perry, Parmalee, Chris Young, Phil Vassar, and Billy Currington. I can’t wait to see what this year’s lineup looks like!
- In years past, Canon USA offered up a Student Film Festival during Balloon Fiesta. It wasn’t held in 2017 due to a logistics issue, but I am hoping that it will be revived. There are truly some creative people out there.
- AfterglowTM Fireworks happen several times throughout the Fiesta as well as nightly laser light shows.
- There is a car show called “Fiesta of Wheels” that takes place on the Launch Field after one of the daily launches.
- Balloon Fiesta is 100% kid/family friendly. Look for the “Kids Zone” area on your map for fun age-appropriate activities for the little ones.
- Be sure to visit The 7-Eleven® Balloon Discovery Center which is an educational center, offering guests interactive and educational fun-filled activities for all ages.
- If seeing balloons up close and personal was your goal, there are plenty of opportunities to see some unique hot air flying fun, including: Dawn Patrol, Mass Ascension, Balloon Glows, Special Shape Rodeo, and the US Women’s National Championship.
Tickets are sold at the gate by the day, but there are a nice variety of upgraded packages that provide special access to the park as well as other amenities (food, private bathrooms, etc). Buying tickets in bulk and in advance allows you to save some money. Sounds good enough to put on a travel bucket list!
Have you already visited the Balloon Fiesta? Looking for more? Here are a few more Balloon Festivals for the enthusiast in your life:
- Hot Air Balloon Festival NJ
- Mondial Air Ballons
- Ogden Valley Balloon & Artist Festival
- The Adirondack Balloon Festival
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