Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

You can experience an event like no other when visiting the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Taking place over nine days in October, the Fiesta offers an enchanted world of unique balloons that glow in the sky. Not only does the Balloon Fiesta consist of balloons, but it also includes other entertainment including fireworks, dawn patrol, competitions, and much more. You won’t want to miss this amazing event. Here is an in-depth look into everything the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta offers.


Photo Credit: corinna_sp8 via Instagram

From hot air balloons to gas balloons and all of their special shapes, you will not want to leave. There will be more than 500 hot air balloons and over 866k people who visit within the 9 days. Balloon pilots come from all over the world, there will be over 670 pilots throughout the event. You can learn about the history of hot air ballooning as well as the balloonist’s prayer and much more. The sky will be filled and glowing for nine days straight, where you can see the balloons even outside of the event destination. General admission is $15.00 per session over the age of 12. One session includes all morning activities or all even events. While general admissions tickets are good for one session any day of the event. Your park and ride ticket include round-trip transportation to and from Balloon Fiesta Park, an expedited route to bypass heavy traffic, and admission to the Balloon Festival event.  


The Balloon Fiesta includes many things to do besides just seeing the event. There are competitions, fireworks, entertainment and much more. Come and see all of it, or choose your favorite and come to that particular day.


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There are many competitions at the Ballooning event that will take place throughout the 9 days of the event. Some of the competitions will consist of the Fly-in Task or FIT. This is where contestants will find their launch from a minimum and maximum distance. There is also the JDG or Judge Declared Goal. In this event, competitors use available surface and higher-level winds to navigate to drop an object on a direct marker. They will also be judging on the minimum distance double drop as well as the Gordon Bennett Memorial. Make sure to catch a few competitions as they will be exciting and an unforgettable events.

Special Shape Rodeo

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There will be a judgment and an award is given to the best and most unique special shape balloon at the Fiesta. Originally starting back in 1989, the special shape rodeo is now one of the most popular events at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Many events around the world have added this as an addition to their balloon events as well. This rodeo takes place on the first Thursday and Friday of the event. 

Chainsaw Carving

Photo Credit: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta via Facebook

This newer art form is a recent addition to the Fiesta.  The Chainsaw Carving Exhibition is located at the end of Balloon Fiesta Park. The spectators and visitors will even have the opportunity to bring one of the beautiful pieces home with them as a souvenir. You can also participate in the live-action that is held each Exhibition day. The auction starts at 5:00 pm and additional carvings will be available for purchase outside of the auction as well.

Afterglow Fireworks, Photo Contest and Dawn Patrol

Photo Credit: via Instagram

After the evening starts to wind down, you can enjoy the beautiful lit-up sky with the afterglow fireworks. Sit back and relax as you watch the sky burst into beautiful colors. If you are feeling a bit creative, try enrolling in the photo contest. Take a few cool shots of your favorite balloons, sculpture, or the festival and enter into the photo contest. You won’t be sad you did. If you are a lover of lights. Make sure you don’t miss dawn patrol, where they light up all of the hot air balloons with a lantern and light up the sky. 

No matter how many days you choose to come, you won’t be disappointed you did. The event is a crowd favorite and for good reason. We hope to see you soon in Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta in October.

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