As the cool crispness of fall fills the air, the sky above Albuquerque, New Mexico is invaded not by the Death Star but by the aviation marvel of hot air balloons on a mass scale. Held each year during the first week of October, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a true sight to behold. For 9 straight days, you can enjoy the kaleidoscope of colors in the sky – weather permitting of course! This year’s theme of “Carry Me Away” marks the 47th anniversary of the event.
From a small gathering of 13 balloons, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has grown to become the largest ballooning event in the world. In order to accommodate the growing popularity of the event, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has moved from its first home of a small shopping mall parking lot to its present home of more than 350 acres. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta attracts more than 600 balloons and 1,000 pilots from all over the world. 2018’s event has pilots from 16 different countries.
Two crowd favorites come not from a galaxy far, far, away but from Court-Saint-Etienne, Belgium. Pilot Benoit Lambert has been flying the infamous Darth Vader Balloon since 2007. The Master Yoda Balloon flown by pilot Michel Lambert premiered at the 2014 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to bring balance to the sky.
Along with the mass ascension, the event also has a number of unique events to enjoy as well. Some guest favorites include a Special Shape Rodeo, evening Balloon Glows and AfterGlow Fireworks Show.
In order to remember the magic of this breathtaking event, it is estimated that more than 25 million photographs are taken of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This has repeatedly earned it the title “The World’s Most Photographed Event.” Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is without a doubt an item everyone should be adding to their bucket list. As hundreds of balloons of all shapes and sizes fill the skies, everyone will be in awe of the pure magic of the event. With 14 different sessions (9 morning sessions and 5 evening sessions), there are plenty of opportunities to capture that perfect photo as you walk amongst the balloons and watch as they lift off.
While I have been to Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta numerous times throughout my life, I still watch in awestruck wonder at the beauty of this amazing event. If you are ever in the Albuquerque area the first week of October, make sure to check out Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. With a little bit of planning and patience, you too can be amazed by this spectacular event.
For more information, head over to the event website.