Your Ultimate Guide to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The world’s largest balloon festival is almost here! Beginning October 7th, 2017, thousands of balloon fans and tourists alike will be gathering in Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta, also known as the World’s Premier Balloon Event. If you’ll be staying us soon, this annual festival is an absolute must for your itinerary and definitely worth the visit!

Find more local events like the International Balloon Fiesta and other things to do in our free Albuquerque Vacation Guide! This handy planning tool is filled with all the best recommendations for nearby attractions, museums, restaurants, and more.

History of the International Balloon Fiesta

In 1972, 13 balloons took off from a small parking lot in New Mexico. Each year since then, more and more guests and, of course, more balloons started visiting Albuquerque. Eventually, the event gained international attention. As thousands upon thousands of people began showing up for the International Balloon Fiesta, the event was moved to a permanent site with more than 350 acres!

As the festival continued to grow, even more events were added to the lineup! Guests can now enjoy the Balloon Glow, the Night Magic Glow, the Special Shape Rodeo, Competition Flying, and so much more!

Today, the International Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world and the planet’s most photographed event. It passionately follows its mission statement year after year: “To conduct the world’s premier ballooning event while renewing friendships and promoting camaraderie among all participants, and promoting the sport of ballooning, the City of Albuquerque and the State of New Mexico, nationally and internationally.” For a more detailed look at the International Balloon Fiesta history, be sure to visit their website!

Most Popular Events of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The fiesta is a 9-day festival that boasts dozens of exciting events! The crisp and clean autumn air that Albuquerque enjoys every year will make for perfect flying weather and hundreds of opportunities for you to get out and have fun! To help you get started, here are just some of the most popular events at the International Balloon Fiesta.

Dawn Patrol Show

This beautiful show is worth waking up a little early for! The event begins at precisely 6 a.m. every morning. It is a choreographed display of color in motion as pilots determine the conditions of the wind.

Mass Ascensions

This is definitely one of the most popular events of the International Balloon Fiesta. After the Dawn Patrol Show, hundreds of balloons take flight at the fairgrounds. The sky will be filled with color, light, and undeniable excitement. The ascension takes place in two waves that last about two hours each, so be sure not to miss it!

America’s Challenge

Since 1995, the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race has been a fan favorite. Balloon pilots from around the world put their skills to the test in this challenging race to the finish line! Many pilots enter in the hopes of breaking distance records.

Special Shape Rodeo

This is an event that the kids and the young-at-heart will love! Watch as fun-shaped balloons such as a family of bees, pirate ships, and whales ascend into the atmosphere.

Twilight Twinkle Balloon Glow/Night Magic Glow

During this event, active hot air balloons are tethered to the ground and burn with a kaleidoscope of colors. Guests can walk through this brightly lit Wonderland and immerse themselves in its undeniable beauty.

Afterglow Fireworks

Make sure you stay after the Night Magic Glow show for the greatest fireworks display in New Mexico! Since this is such a popular event, visitors are encouraged to arrive at the fields before the beginning of the Night Magic Glow.

Flight of the Nations

This ascension takes place in the mid-week and honors all the countries that participated in the year’s International Balloon Fiesta. Pilots will ascend into the air and proudly display their selected country’s flag in a memorable flight.

Ready to take flight into memory-making fun? Be sure to get your Albuquerque Balloon Festival 2017 tickets today!

Where to Stay for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque Art Galleries Old TownLocated just minutes from all the Balloon Fiesta festivities, the Bottger Mansion of Old Town is the perfect accommodation for your Albuquerque getaway! Our historic bed & breakfast provides comfortable rooms, outstanding amenities, and friendly hospitality. You’ll also enjoy a warm, delicious breakfast served first thing in the morning that to start your day off right. Explore the many attractions of Albuquerque or simply relax in the peace and quiet of our cozy inn. Our beautiful haven of New Mexico is waiting for you, so check our availability and book your stay today!

Photo Credit: VladyslavDanilin/Getty Images