Every year, New Mexico’s already enchanting landscape becomes dotted with some extra color.
People from around the globe flock to New Mexico every October to participate (or even just watch) in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Since 1972, the festival has brought thousands of people, and hundreds of balloons, together to celebrate the unique sport in what is now the largest hot air balloon event the planet.
The balloons lift off from Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta Park, freckling the sky with brightly colored, traditional balloons, balloons with incredible designs and artwork, or even balloons shaped like fun characters and objects. Balloons of the past have included a Darth Vader and a flying pig.
And the beauty isn’t reserved for just daytime. Nighttime Balloon Glows, a “light show” created by balloon pilots turning on their burners at the same times, creates a wondrous, illuminated spectacle once the sun goes down.
Spectators are even encouraged to help pilots out by assisting in inflating their balloons, so it’s not just an incredible experience for Instagram, it’s also one where you can learn something about ballooning.
This year’s Fiesta ran from October 6 to October 14, and if you were not able to score yourself a ticket, you’re probably not alone. More than 800,000 people usually attend the sold-out event. But there's always next year.
And there is still more balloon fun to be had in New Mexico. For one, the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally, a much smaller event that hosts 35-50 balloons and will run between October 26–28. Then, there’s the Red Rock Balloon Rally from November 30–December 2, which hosts 200 balloons, if you’re looking for a much bigger spectacle. There are also smaller events in White Sands, Gallup, Angel Fire and Elephant Butte year round, so there’s truly no bad time to go ballooning.
If you’re interested in a private balloon adventure to see the best of the New Mexico landscape, we suggest checking out X-Treme-Lee Fun Balloon Adventures to set up a ride.
For more information about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, visit the New Mexico tourism website, or the Fiesta website. You can also follow the Fiesta on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.