Are rainbows the only multi-colored phenomena in the sky above Albuquerque? No, they’re definitely not. When
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – 2019
This American city in the state of New Mexico hosts the annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, from the 5th to the 13th of October in 2019, at the Balloon Fiesta Park. The skies come alive with an incredible kaleidoscope of enormous hot air balloons.
By Britt Reints
If you thought a balloon did nothing more than float, think again. Balloon rodeos, glow flights and mass ascensions are just some of the things which will make the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2019 a spectacular of light and color.
From dawn to dusk and beyond, the talented balloon pilots put themselves and their equipment through its paces.
View the balloons from below
If you fancy seeing the ground from a different angle too, you can do. Though you might need to crack open the piggy bank to take a hot air balloon flight at the fiesta itself as they average around $300 per person.
Don’t worry if you’re not a high flier or the thought of your feet leaving ‘tierra firma’ makes you dizzy. Down at ground level there’s also plenty of other activities which will keep you busy and entertained.
Discovering at the Balloon Discovery Center
You’ll want to check out the amazing 7-Eleven Balloon Discovery Center where you can find out lots of interesting facts about balloons, how they’re made, how the weather conditions affects flying and if you’re at the Balloon Fiesta with children, they’ll have a chance to light up a balloon burner for real.
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There’s also a fascinating exhibition of NASA aeronautics and scientific ballooning which you won’t want to miss. The great thing is there’s no extra charge for visiting the Discovery Center. It’s all included in the general session admission charge of $10.
What else happens at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta? Lots!
Laser Light Show
Albuquerque doesn’t believe in waiting for dawn to dispel the dark from the night skies. They just get up and do it themselves. Every morning of the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, at precisely 05:45 am, you’ll be able to watch a fantastic Laser Light Show.
When the exhibition gets under way, piercing beams of light strobe across the heavens in a rhythmic dance set to music. Yes, you’ll need to get up early to see it, but it’s a great way to kick off the day and definitely better than a bowl of cornflakes.
By Gomathi Priya V
Somebody has to check the weather conditions are right for flying at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and that job belongs to the Dawn Patrol. It’s an exciting moment when the pilots light up their burners, inflate their balloons and hit the air long before the sun has even come up for the inaugural flight of the day.
If you were impressed by the flights of the Special Shapes, you’ll be flabbergasted when you watch your first mass ascension. It really is hot air ballooning on a grand scale.
Wave after wave of balloons rise into the sky in simultaneous flight. Numbering in their hundreds, and impossible to keep count of as they go up, it’s an absolutely magnificent display of hot air ballooning that is completely unrivaled anywhere else in the world.
They really do like to do things differently in Albuquerque. Give a man a chainsaw and normally he’d use it for cutting down a tree. Not at the Balloon Fiesta. Give a man a chainsaw and he’ll create a work of art.
Professional chainsaw carvers from all over the States and Canada convene to compete in the major charity event, the Chainsaw Challenge. It might be noisy to watch, but that’s forgivable as all the money raised from the sale of the pieces they produce goes to a good cause.
The skills displayed by the carvers is incredible when you consider the tool they are using. You’ll be truly astounded as a trunk of wood turns into a delicately featured flying eagle, a wild mustang with flowing mane or a life-size Grizzly bear. Unbelievable.
Special Shape Rodeo
Don’t be mislead into thinking the Special Shape Rodeo at the Albuquerque Balloon International Festival has anything to do with riding bucking broncos, it doesn’t.
What it is to do with is any balloon which isn’t exactly balloon shaped. You’ll be completely awe-struck by gigantic bumble bees, seahorses, Cinderella carriages and even Darth Vader-shaped balloons as they float up into the big blue.
You’ll have great fun trying to spot the strangest shape and the most imaginative design. And no, you won’t be hallucinating when you see a balloon that looks like a pair of men’s underwear flying overhead.
The ballooners have several competitions in which they pit their aviation skills not only against each other, but against the elements as well.
Can they hit a target set by the Balloon Meister after a one mile flight or even drop two markers close together within a specified boundary? You’ll have to be there to find out.
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Fireworks
Albuquerque doesn’t believe in being deflated even when the ballooning is over for the day. They finish the day the same way they started it, by illuminating the heavens.
But instead of laser lights, at dusk, the skies are lit by massive fireworks displays. Yes that really happens, every single day of the event. It’s another part of the amazing visual spectacular, which is the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, you just can’t miss. It’s fantastic.
By John Fowler
Albuquerque Balloon Festival tickets cost $10 for each event, and Children under the age of 12 is free admission. There are a total of 14 events including the morning and evening events.
For parking and transportation see ‘how to get there’ in the event extras.
So Why The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2019?
There’s nothing more graceful or serene than a hot air balloon ascending into the skies. When there’s almost a thousand of them rising together, it turns a simple aerial navigation into an unbelievably colorful spectacular.
There really isn’t any other event quite like this one or one which will float your boat, or balloon gondola, quite like the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.