What’s New This Year at the Balloon Fiesta

Story and Photos by Hilary Broman

Staff Reporter

The 45th annual Balloon Fiesta is underway and this year there are some new events taking place, according to Balloon Fiesta media officials.

This year’s theme is Desert Kaleidoscope, which describes Albuquerque’s perfect hot air ballooning climate.

The theme was chosen by Charles Goodman from Florida who won the 45th Balloon Fiesta theme contest.

Seventeen new special shape balloons are scheduled to make their debut at this year’s Fiesta.

Some of the new shapes scheduled to appear include: The Flying Gator from Brazil, the Cathedral from Dominican Republic, Mr. Clown from Germany and Mr. Fish from the United States.

During the Special Shape Rodeo and Glowdeo the balloons are set to be organized into seven themed categories; Pirate Ship theme, Love theme, Sports theme, Fireman theme, Police theme, Space theme and Ocean theme.

Over 500 balloons fill the Albuquerque sky during the mass ascension.

This is the first year that the U.S. Women’s National Championship is set to take place.

Sixteen women will compete in the championship.

The final flight of the championship is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 5.

This is the Dominican Republic’s first year participating in the Balloon Fiesta and they will be represented in the Flight of Nations on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 7a.m.

The 19 other countries that will be represented in the Flight of Nations include: Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and more.

There are multiple ways to travel to the fiesta.

A free valet service will be offered to guests who ride a bike to the park as well as entry through an easy access bike trial and a safe bike storage area that will be staffed by volunteers.

Guests can also purchase a park and ride ticket that will cover the entry fee into the fiesta as well as a ride from a safe parking location to the park.

Park and ride tickets can be purchased online and cost $15 for adults (13-61), $12 for seniors (62 and older), $7 for children (6-12) and are free for children 5 and younger.

Guests can also purchase Rail Runner Express tickets on the weekends which include an all-day Rail Runner Express pass, shuttle to and from the Rail Runner station and the Balloon Fiesta park, and Balloon Fiesta event admission.

Tickets can be purchased on the Rio Metro website.

Tickets are $25 for adults (13-61), $20 for seniors (62 & older), $12 for children (6-12), and children ages five and under are free.

Events that are scheduled during the Balloon Fiesta include; Kids day, laser light shows, chainsaw carving demonstrations, special shape Glowdeo, fireworks shows, and more.

For a complete list of scheduled Balloon Fiesta events click here.

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The Route 66 balloon was one of the first to take off during the mass ascension. Leading the way with an American flag hanging from the basket.

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