"Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta-Festival Extraordinaire" Albuquerque by VeronicaG

Albuquerque Travel Guide: 773 reviews and 1,599 photos

The Albuquerque Balloon Fest

Two weekends in October draw thousands of people to New Mexico from around the world. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been thrilling enthusiasts since l972, when the first few hot air balloons were launched. This was the 36th year for the event.

My husband and I attempted to visit last year ('06)--our first year in the Dallas metroplex, but did not succeed in finding lodging or a flight that would match our schedule. This year, friends invited us months before the event to join them, so our flight was easily secured. We were invited to stay at a family member's home with them, which was just minutes from the grounds.

Originally, we were only planning to attend the 7:00 am Saturday Mass Ascension, but our small group decided to see the GLOWDEO* on Friday night, too. Unfortunately, it was too windy and this event had to be cancelled, but it was still a great evening because I had the opportunity to meet a fellow VTer who was working with the First Aid crew. Be sure to see my tips to find out her identity.

The Albuquerque Balloon Festival is listed in the 1000 Places To See Before You Die travel guide--it truly was a fantastic experience! Balloonists from Spain, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Ireland, Scotland, Mexico, Lithuania, Japan, France, Switzerland and the United States plied their talents to rise above the melee and soar to the heavens.

*The Glowdeo features uniquely shaped balloons, such as those resembling houses, animals, objects from nature or everyday items, such as a coffee pot. These balloons are then lit up to glow in the night, while tethered to the ground.

NOTE: A lengthy fireworks display concludes the evening and is well worth waiting for--be prepared for the huge traffic jam afterwards.

NOTE: Please peek at my Albuquerque travel albums to see more of what this balloon-crazed town offers its visitors.

My camera battery inconveniently died one afternoon at the fiesta and our friend, Larry Neely, had to step in to take some additional photographs. You'll see some of his pictures noted in a few of my tips.

  • Last visit to Albuquerque: Oct 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (24)

Comments (15)

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Jan 13, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Torquoise and beautiful skies... all good

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Aug 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    Unfortunately we're going to be in Albuquerque just a little too early to see the balloons, but I really enjoyed reading all about the fiesta on your page. Will certainly look out for the Utility Shack as I love Native Jewellery - thanks for the tip

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    The balloon festival looks like a great event to see one day. You have shown so many good pictures of the balloons

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2009 at 6:31 AM

    Me again, coming back to have a look at the tips that you added after my (somewhat early) visit to this page on October 15, 2007. Fascinating ballooning event! My own ballooning experience was in Paris and lasted only ten minutes, but it was super!

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2009 at 5:03 AM

    Lovely Albuquerque page with lots of beautiful photographs! Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta certainly looks like a grand event and a great attraction! Nice to be there. ~ho & pang

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Jan 20, 2008 at 1:54 PM

    nice "balloon page" you made there. and it has kymba on it :O)

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2007 at 10:46 PM

    This looks like so much fun. Thanks for sharing. I took MrL ballooning as a birthday treat this year - I recommend it. Shame we couldn't get some sopapillas to tuck into when we came down - I remember how yummy they are from a NM holiday. leyle

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2007 at 5:02 PM

    My son crewed for a balloonist several years ago. Bet it would be a blast to sail up in one. Looks like you had a grand time.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Nov 1, 2007 at 12:31 AM

    Wow, what a colourful event! I had never heard about the balloon fiesta before, but now I would like to go there one day myself. Great page Veronica!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Oct 31, 2007 at 4:55 PM

    Update from 10/16.So enjoyed reading about your "Balloon Festival" adventure, Albuquerque. Old Town, the Utility Shack, & meeting a fellow VT'er were highlights for me. I, too, enjoyed learning about "Zebras & the Chase Crew". Kissing Bees & Wells Fargo.


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