Guide to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

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    International Ballooning Event

    Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
    Getty Images/Bill Heinsohn

    The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta started in 1972 with a small gathering of balloon enthusiasts. Today, the nine-day extravaganza is a feast for the eyes and a joy to behold. There are mass balloon ascensions in the mornings and evenings, specialty events, races, and more. In addition to stages set up along the concourse, there is also strolling entertainment at the fiesta. Every year, the fiesta typically runs in the month of October. This picture gallery is just a sampling of what to expect at this world class event.

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    Fiesta Concourse and Food Vendors

    The balloon fiesta concourse features exhibits, food and souvenir vendors, entertainment, and places to stop and rest. The balloons are visible no matter where you have stopped.

    Specialty foods that can be difficult to find are found at the fiesta. Cheese curds are just one of the unusual foods to try. Temporary tents along the midway at the Balloon Fiesta house food vendors, arts and crafts booths, souvenirs, and entertainment. Along with balloon pins and other specialty balloon collectibles, there are a wide variety of balloon souvenirs.

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    Inflating the Balloons

    Hot air balloon being set up at the Albuquerque, New Mexico International Hot Air Balloon Festival
    Getty Images/Tim McGuire

    Watching every aspect of ballooning is fun, from taking the balloons out of the transport vehicle to putting it away. Spectators enjoy watching the balloon as it inflates. Here, a balloonists positions the gas so that it expands into the balloon cavity.

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    Watching the Balloons Rise

    Aerial view of hot air balloons preparing to take off at Balloon Fiesta Park
    Getty Images/Blaine Harrington III

    Balloons are laid out on the field in lines of balloons which often rise together.

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    Special Shapes Balloons

    Special shape balloon called 'Crazy Crab'
    Getty Images/Blaine Harrington III

    Every year, there are more special shapes balloons which are increasingly inventive. From grumpy green monster, to a popular "bee couple" is a popular favorite which is brought by their owners from South America every year, there are always plenty of interesting balloons to see.

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    Balloon Glow

    Colorful hot air balloons getting ready for a dawn takeoff in New Mexico.
    Getty Images/Dean Fikar

    During the evening and early morning balloon glows, each balloon is given gas to make them glow. With all the balloons lit against the dark sky, the effect is magical. At the end of evening balloon glow events, there are often fireworks.