Albuquerque 44th International Balloon Fiesta

Balloon Fiesta
Balloon Fiesta

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta sets off its 44th anniversary on October 3rd with the tagline “Where Dreams Take Flight.” Balloonists take this tagline literally as they cover the skies with both traditional multicolored balloons and creative, dreamlike ones. Over the years balloonists have flown high in flying pigs, giant sharks, teddy bears, dragons, and even a bright red fire hydrant. For the Star Wars fan, there’s even balloons based on Yoda and Darth Vader! The first two days of the event show off these amazing designs with the Mass Accession, but for families wishing to see the the parade of creative shapes, the Thursdays and Fridays of the event are devoted to the Special Shapes Rodeo.

Hot Air Balloons
Special Rodeo

Not all balloons are meant for flying though. During the Balloon Glow evening event, the same field used for the Mass Accession becomes a light show as balloonist light their colorful creations from within, igniting a dazzling display of glowing balloons that set the stage for the fireworks display that follows.

Albuquerque Balloon Glow
Albuquerque Balloon Glow

Other events include various flying competitions, concerts by local New Mexico musicians, the ABF Chainsaw Carving Competition, a film festival featuring short movies about the fiesta, and a photo competition by the event’s main sponsor, Canon. This is also the only festival where viewers can mingle among the balloonists and inquire about their amazing craft.

Colorful hot air balloons
Mass Accession

Footage of previous years have been captured via webcams and go-pros to archive this spectacular event, just in case someone misses a perfect photo opportunity.

The 44th International Balloon Fiesta runs for one week from October 3rd to the 11th at the Albuquerque Balloon Park.


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John Gray

A poet by heart and an editor by trade, I have traveled across the world in pursuit of my studies and to criss-cross destinations off my bucket list. While a student at the University of Iowa, I traveled to Cuba, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, where I lived for 6 months. I am currently planning a return trip to see the Great Barrier Reef and Western Australia.

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