What is the Balloon Fiesta?
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is like the World Cup of balloon festivals. Not only is it the largest hot air balloon festival in New Mexico — it's the largest one on the planet. It's also considered the world's most photographed event, which is not surprising. Imagine the colorful and majestic display of 500 hot air balloons taking off together, and it's easy to understand why the 80,000 people who attend each year take so many pictures!
When does Balloon Fiesta take place?
The hot air balloon festival takes place over nine days, spanning two weekends each October in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the 365 acre Balloon Fiesta Park. The park's launch field alone covers 78 acres — the equivalent of more than fifty football fields!
The air balloon festival extends nine days, featuring many hot air balloon related events over two sessions. Gates open at 430am daily for the morning session, then again at 330pm for the afternoon session. The 2017 edition of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will take place October 7th-15th.
What events take place at Balloon Fiesta?
The best known event taking place during the nine day air balloon festival is the mass ascension, when hundreds of balloons launch in concert. Mass ascension take place during morning sessions, as do Dawn Patrol launches, when select hot air balloons take off just as the sun begins to rise.
Other notable Balloon Fiesta events include the America's Challenge, where festival goers witness the launch of a three day hot air balloon race from New Mexico to the east coast. The Flight of the Nations event celebrates every country participating in the international balloon festival, wherein balloons brandishing each nation's flag lead the Wednesday mass ascension.
Two afternoon session events feature nighttime, light-up hot air balloon displays. The larger Balloon Glow takes place the first Sunday, while the Night Magic Glow occurs the second Saturday night. Two separate days during the festival are designated The Special Shape Rodeo, featuring hot air balloons in shapes other than the standard round. Of course, the Balloon Fiesta offers many opportunities to take hot air balloon rides.
Buying tickets for Balloon Fiesta
General admission tickets for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta go on sale in April, beginning at $10 per session or $45 for a pack for tickets to five sessions.
VIP level passes are available at two levels and go on sale March 28. Chasers' Club tickets cost $45 (children 6 and under free) and includes session admission, guaranteed seating in a VIP area, as well as food and drink bonuses and live entertainment. Gondola Club tickets are $100 per adult, and $50 for children age 4-12, with 20% discounted pricing available for groups of 14 or more. Gondola Club tickets include all of the above in a prime viewing location, a reserved parking pass for every four people, parking shuttle, private bathrooms, souvenirs, and a full buffet.
Tickets are available by calling (855) 725-1824; at Balloon Fiesta's Gift Shop at 4401 Alameda Blvd. NE or online at www.balloonfiesta.com/guest-guide/ticketing-information.
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