Attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

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Attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in 2023 was an unforgettable celebration of the skies and the beautiful balloons in which you can enjoy in the wild blue yonder.  Seeing it from above was one of the most spectacular events I have ever seen.  I’ll share about our ride later.

On our recent trip to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, we got the chance to experience a hot air balloon ride, the sight of hundreds of hot air balloons in the sky, and a vibrant, energy-filled festival that we won’t soon forget! 



Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Today, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot air balloon gathering in the world, but its beginnings are humble ones.

The first Balloon Fiesta was held in the parking lot of Coronado Center Mall in Albuquerque in 1972 and featured only 13 balloons. Its popularity was immediate, and the next year, 13 countries took part in the “First World Hot Air Balloon Championship”, the world’s largest ballooning event. 

By 1978, the event was hosting 273 entries, with the number of balloons increasing yearly. By 1999, the Fiesta boasted 900 balloons. 

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta hosts so many hot air balloons from so many countries that it’s now held at a permanent site of over 350 acres.

It’s the world’s largest hot air ballooning event, a Meca for hot air ballooning enthusiasts worldwide. The festival now encompasses so much more than hot air ballooning.

You’ll find events like chainsaw carving, skydiving shows, drone light shows, their famous Mass Ascension, and much more!


Important Fiesta Facts

  • The festival is held annually in early October at Balloon Fiesta Park on Alameda Boulevard. 
  • The crowd can be more than 80,000 people, so plan to arrive between 4 AM and 4:30 AM. 
  • No pets are allowed; however, trained service animals are welcome. 
  • Parking is available for $20. Payment is cash-only. 
  • A park and ride service is available for more convenient access to the event. 
  • Ride your bike to the event and enjoy valet parking for it. 
  • Packages and backpacks are allowed at the event, but they will be searched. 
  • Tickets go on sale in April and are available online, by phone, or at the Balloon Fiesta’s Gift Shop. 

 You can buy a ticket to ride in a balloon, but reservations are required, and it’s a first come – first serve event. BUY TICKETS

Attending the Balloon Fiesta

Attending the  Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta experience was a magical one. The vast site was covered with hot air balloons either waiting or preparing to lift off, and the festival offered a huge variety of events to enjoy. Of all the experiences we took part in, however, our balloon ride was the most spectacular. 

albuquerque-balloon-fiesta-my-home-and-travels-us in baskete

Remember as a kid, those first-time events you experience – that was me attending this bucket list item.  I was just constantly amazed at the beauty of the balloons, on the ground and in the sky.

Going in 2024  

The 2024 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta looks to be just as amazing as years past. It will be held beginning October 5th and will feature light shows, chainsaw carving, breakfast with hot air balloons, and more! You’ll experience tons of hot air balloons, a Special Shape Rodeo that features balloons with unique shapes, and a photo contest in addition to other activities. Here’s a sample of the agenda: 

  • Drone Light Show – 5:45 AM
  • Dawn Patrol Show – 6:00 AM
  • Krispy Kreme Morning Glow – 6:30 AM
  • Opening Ceremonies – 7:00 AM
  • Mass Ascension – 7:00 AM
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving Exhibition – 8:00 AM
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving Auction – 10:00 AM
  • America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Inflation – 2:00 PM
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving Exhibition – 3:00 Pm
  • Team Fastrax Skydiving – 5:00 Pm
  • America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Launch – 6:00 Pm
  • Twilight Twinkle Glow – 6:00 Pm
  • Team Fastrax Skydiving – 7:30 PM
  • Drone Light Show – 7:45 PM
  • AfterGlow Fireworks Show – 8:00 PM
Drone Light Show

The first event is a drone show.  This depicts scenes from around the area such as Area 51 in Roswell, the Christmas chiles (red and green), balloons, buffaloes, and Route 66.


Morning Glow and Dawn Patrol

These balloons take off to test the weather and wind to determine if it’s safe for the Fiesta to proceed.  It’s your first glance of balloons taking flight.

albuquerque-balloon-fiesta-my-home-and-travels-dawn patrol

The Mass Ascension

It begins a bit after sunrise at 7 AM.  This is one of those don’t miss moments.  It’s amazing to see hundreds of balloons fill the air.

albuquerque-balloon-fiesta-my-home-and-travels-mass ascension

Experience the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for Yourself

Our Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2023 experience was an exercise in beauty and amazement. With hundreds of hot air balloons, thousands of visitors, tons of activities, and an electric atmosphere, this fiesta delivers beauty and majesty in equal measure. And if the 2023 event was an indication of what’s to come, the 2024 Fiesta should be an equally amazing experience. If you’ll be in the area in the first week of October, do yourself a favor and attend this exciting event!

albuquerque-balloon-fiesta-my-home-and-travels-balloons getting ready

Albuquerque was a great stop after a few days in Santa Fe, staying at LA FONDA ON THE SQUARE.  We then started a few days going East on Route 66.

Have you ever ridden in a hot air balloon?  There are smaller events all around the country, so I hope you get out and enjoy one of them.




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I’ve included affiliate links to Amazon for you to find some products easier.  I may receive a small commission, but the price is the same for you.  It just helps my blog out.

Happy Travels, 


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  1. What a wonderful event. I love seeing hot air balloons taking off and gliding through the sky. We often have similar events here in the UK if the weather holds!

  2. 80,000 is an incredible crowd! I love the vision of all those balloons floating up at the same time. Should I book a ticket for 2024? 🙂

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