The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a nine-day event that occurs annually in the first full week of October. It begins on a Saturday and this year, it is held from October 5 to 13. This hot air balloon festival takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta began in 1972 with a total of 13 balloons. Since its humble beginning, it has since become the largest balloon event in the world. Now there are about 600 balloons and 700 pilots that feature at The Balloon Fiesta. It is the most photographed event on earth, and the largest annual international event held in the United States.
History of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The first gathering of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was held in a parking lot. The following year the “First World Hot Air Balloon Championship” took place and 13 countries took part. This was held at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds.
By 1978 there were 273 entries and as the years went by the number of balloons steadily increased. In 2000 there were more than 1,000 balloons registered for the Balloon Fiesta. There is now a cap on the number of balloons that can participate as there is limited landing site availability. In 1993 and 1999, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta hosted the annual Coupe de, Gordon Bennett. The Coupe de Gordon Bennett is the world’s oldest and most prestigious gas balloon race, it dates back to 1912.
The first balloon fiesta was watched by 10,000 people, today up to 100,000 spectators may be watching on the launch field, and hundreds of thousands more fans watching from outlying areas and on T.V. In 2017 Balloon Fiesta Live! was launched, enabling fans to live stream the event. This professionally produced live stream has an expert commentary of all the flying events.
The increase in balloons and guests has meant that the Balloon Fiesta’s home field has grown from a mall parking lot to its permanent home which is more than 350 acres.
The number of unique events has also grown. The Balloon Fiesta has added the annual Balloon Glow, the Night Magic Glow™, and the Special Shape Rodeo™ to the already popular and spectacular Mass Ascensions.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta timeline
The Balloon Fiesta begins in 1972 when 13 balloons gather at Coronado Center to celebrate KOB’s 50th Anniversary.
Albuquerque hosts the First World Hot Air Balloon Championship at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds, and 13 countries participate.
More than 300 balloons participate this year.
Parachutists make their first appearance.
Kodak becomes the title sponsor at the 21st Balloon Fiesta.
It is the 25th Balloon Fiesta and first Dawn Patrol Show.
1,019 balloons are registered which is a launch record.
Balloon Fiesta Live! premiers as a live stream of the entire event.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta FAQs
Can you ride in a hot air balloon at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival?
Yes, you can.
How much does it cost to go to Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta?
It costs $10 per person for general admission to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta; children 12 and younger can enter for free.
What time do the balloons go up at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival?
They go up at 7:00 a.m.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Activities
Watch the event via livestream
Invite your friends over and host a live-streaming party to watch the fiesta. What better way to celebrate than with a bowl of popcorn and some T.V?
Request an A.I.B.F. Ambassador to give a presentation
Request an Ambassador to give a presentation. The Ambassador program is free to the public and customizes the presentation to fit your group.
Volunteer at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Volunteer to be a Navigator at the Balloon Fiesta. Not only will it make you feel good, but you’ll have fun doing it.
5 Facts About Hot Air Balloons
The first hot air balloon was launched
The first hot air balloon called “Aerostat Reveillon” was launched on September 19, 1783, by scientist Pilatre De Rozier.
The first manned balloon was attempted
Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier launched the balloon on November 21, 1783, which flew for 20 minutes.
The first crossing across the English Channel
The first balloonists to fly across the English Channel in 1785 were Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard and his American co-pilot.
Hot air balloons during wars for reconnaissance
During the Civil War, balloons were used for spotting enemy movements and artillery.
Hot air balloons cannot fly in rain
Balloons become much heavier and harder to control during rain.
Why We Love Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
It is a nine-day fun for ballooning enthusiasts
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is nine days dedicated to the art of ballooning. It is a fun event that delights all spectators.
There are many events
Along with ballooning events, there are other events like chainsaw, carving, skydiving, and fireworks that cater to other interests. There’s something for everyone!
You can enjoy and partake in the celebrations no matter where you are
No matter where you are you can still celebrate via the live stream of the event or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Go ahead and post today!
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta dates