Tourism and Tours

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta | The World’s Largest Balloon Festival

This event, we guarantee, is like nothing you’ve ever seen before in your entire life! Imagine a sky filled with hundreds of different coloured hot air balloons floating in the air. You can turn this imagination into a reality when you visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held every year in Ne Mexico, and witness over 500 air balloons fly over your head, creating an almost magical kind of atmosphere for the visitors. Not only watching, but you will also have an opportunity to fly up on a hot air balloon as well here, making it one of the best festivals in the US.

Additional Info: The hot air balloon rides are charged, and you can inquire about the prices at the venue.
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Festival Dates 2022: 1st October – 9th October , 2022
Famous For: Hot air balloon festival

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Events

Mass ascension, 2006
Special Shapes Rodeo, 2008
Dawn Patrol

The Dawn Patrol began at the Balloon Fiesta in 1978, when two California balloonists developed position lighting systems that allowed them to fly at night. Dawn Patrol pilots  take off before sunrise and fly until it is light enough to see landing sites. Fellow balloonists appreciate the Dawn Patrol because they can watch the balloons and get an early idea of wind speeds and directions at different altitudes.
Mass Ascensions

One of the biggest events of the fiesta, where all participating balloons launch in two waves, filling the sky with hundreds of balloons at once. Launch directors, also known as “zebras” because of their black-and-white-striped outfits, serve as “traffic cops,” coordinating the launch so balloons leave the field in a safe and coordinated manner. The first wave of the mass ascension typically begins at around 7am, around the time of Albuquerque’s sunrise in early October.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Artistic Vision

Many local artists take advantage of the balloons as favorite subject matter for their paintings. Balloons often land in Albuquerque neighborhoods. Many residents watch the balloons from the comfort of their backyards.
Special Shape Rodeo
Many non-traditional, uniquely shaped balloons are launched at the same time. Some of the most famous shapes include a milk cow, a wagon coach, twin bees, and many others like soda pop cans and animals. This is the most popular part of the event as families can see how balloons can be all different in shapes and sizes.

Balloon Glows

Large numbers of balloons are illuminated at night by their propane burners. They stand static and do not take off during these events. The “Glowdeo” is a night glow for the special shapes balloons. Evening Balloon glows are often followed by fireworks displays.
Special Events and Competitions

Various events like:

The Fiesta Challenge, a game where balloonists attempt to drop a marker closest to a target.
America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race, where special long-distance gas balloons are inflated and then launched. The winner of the race is the balloon that travels the farthest. Some balloons in the race have gone as far as Canada and the U.S. East Coast.
The Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension, where balloonists from each nation launch, one at a time, to their national anthem and waving their nation’s flag.
Other piloting, skill, and speed competitions.
Music Fiesta, the fiesta invites artists for concerts and shows.
Rainbow Ryders, the official balloon rides that people can book and enjoy.


Balloon Fiesta Park, from which the balloons are launched, is located on the northern edge of the city. The park is a multi-use field and is home to many other events throughout the year. In 2005, the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum was opened on the grounds. The museum is dedicated to the history, science, sport, and art of ballooning and other innovative forms of flight.


A balloon takeoff, 2019

The Balloon Fiesta is organized by Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Inc.


Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Inc owns the trademark for the name “Balloon Fiesta”.
2004 radio tower collision
On October 9, 2004, while landing, a Smokey Bear imaged balloon collided with, and became entangled in, one of KKOB’s radio transmitter towers. The three passengers were able to climb out of the basket onto the tower. However, the tower was energized and could have led to electrocution once the passengers set foot on ground, so KKOB shut down its transmitter following the accident in order to enable them to climb down to safety. This accident was recorded by several local television stations, and the footage has become a standard story on a number of televised reality programs which deal with “caught on camera” incidents.