Photos From the World's Biggest Hot Air Balloon Festival Will Make You Want to Book a Trip
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.
The 2018 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta entered its 47th year with balloons from around the world.
Dawn Patrol begins as early as 6 a.m. These balloonists take flight at sunrise to note the direction and wind speed for the day's participants.
Balloons glow as participants prepare for the morning flight.
Spectators gather for the largest, and most photographed, ballooning event in the world.
Vendors await festival guests with local cuisine, fun merchandise, and interactive exhibits.
It takes a crew to get the balloons in the air.
The balloons ascend quickly due to the rising air from the flames. The pilot can control the balloon’s altitude by adjusting the temperature inside.
Balloons of all shapes and sizes ascend during the Special Shape Rodeo.
Spectators gather to spot a penguin, frog, owl, fish aquarium, and much more during this whimsical display.
Balloon flying competitions include a fly-in task and ring toss.
Five hundred and fifty hot air balloons representing 16 countries fly over Albuquerque's Sandia Mountains.