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The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Fills Up the Skies



During the month of October, many states across the U.S. hold festivals. It’s the end of the harvest and cooler longer nights are ahead. These harvest-based festivals are quite common, but in Albuquerque, they do something quite unique. It’s the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta!

When Did the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Begin?

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The Balloon Fiesta began in 1972 as the highlight of a 50th birthday celebration for 770 KOB Radio. Originally starting with 13 balloons on April 8, 1972. The idea for the fiesta was a collaboration between radio station manager Dick McKee and the first hot air balloon owner in New Mexico, Sid Cutter. From then on it has grown exponentially year after year. Today it is a tourist attraction that everyone should witness!

What Are the Fiesta Events?


The fiesta has a series of events based on different factors. First is Dawn Patrol, which is the first flight before sunrise. Then comes Mass Ascensions, which is when hundreds of balloons launch up two at a time. Next comes Artistic Vision – a marriage of local artists expressing their artistic vision and talents. Special Shape Rodeo is next, where non-traditional shaped balloons make their appearance. At night comes the final event which involves lit up balloons and is called Balloon Glows.

That’s not all however, there also are other special events and competitions.

Various events like:

– The Fiesta Challenge, a game where balloonists attempt to drop a marker closest to a target.

– America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race, where special long-distance gas balloons are inflated and then launched. The winner of the race is the balloon that travels the farthest. Some balloons in the race have gone as far as Canada and the U.S. East Coast.

– The Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension, where balloonists from each nation launch, one at a time, to their national anthem and waving their nation’s flag.

– Other piloting, skill, and speed competitions.

In conclusion, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a must see for travelers who love wild events and creative expression.

John Ghost is a professional writer and SEO director. He graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in English (Writing, Rhetorics, and Literacies). As he prepares for graduate school to become an English professor, he writes weird fiction, plays his guitars, and enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters. He lives in the Valley of the Sun.