Imagine waking up on a chilly October morning and walking into the fields in New Mexico, staring up and seeing the perfect blue sky dotted with 500 – 600 lovely bright colored hot air balloons, slowly rising up against the bright orange sun. This spectacular event happens in early October every year during the The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This nine-day event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world and draws up to 100,000 spectators during its launch.
The first fiesta happened in 1972 with only 13 balloons but today, it has upto 750 hot air balloons participating. The atmosphere during October here is festive and you will get to see one of the most the most colorful skies you’ve ever envisioned. Be prepared to wake up early in the morning to catch a glimpse of the balloons lifting off at sunrise. Though it may seem crazy, it’s necessary to wake up super early to line up to enter the park.
The fiesta has a host of events organized and you can check out the schedule to see which ones interest you. A few of the more interesting events during the fiesta range from the mass ascendance to dawn patrol.
Mass ascension is one of the biggest events of the fiesta where all participating balloons launch together in two waves. “Zebras” (black-and-white-striped outfits), or launch controllers, serve as “traffic cops” to help the balloons coordinate their ascendance. When those 750 balloons are up in the air, the color and contrast in the sky is breathtaking
Balloon Glows - These events are held in the late evening after the spectacle of the ascendance. These special, interestingly shaped balloons light up and glow at night like fireflies. Though they don’t take off into the sky, the balloons are creative and quirky enough to make you glad to have them keep you company on the ground.
This event has also helped promote the Albuquerque culture and tourism; so this would be a good time to visit local arts and crafts stores, or have some delicious local cuisine. For more tourist information about the fiesta you can look up their website or visit the official tourism site.