2020 was the year COVID-19 began. During the year lots of events were canceled to protect people from outbreaks of the virus. One event affected was The famous Balloon Fiesta. After taking the year off Balloon Fiesta made it’s return for the 2021 season.
Balloon fiesta park was filled with many spectators waiting to see the many balloons take off into the sky. This year 866,414 guests made their way to the park during the 9 day period.
The Balloon fiesta picked up right where it left off with a total of 588 balloons making an appearance this year. 671 pilots also made the trip from around the world for this years event. The Albuquerque community seemed full of life after the return of the Balloon Fiesta.
Leslie Bordeau, a CNM student in 2014-2015, embarked on marriage in spectacular fashion, getting married to his sweetheart, Lorisa Silva. The couple, both from Albuquerque, launched their marriage with a party of 10, taking off from the Cottonwood Mall parking lot. Silva said that a friend suggested a balloon-based wedding to her about a month ago. “I just thought that was a good idea,” said Silva. So here they were, and there they went–up, up, and away, in a party that included a minister, a photographer, and various family and friends. Their balloon was one of 11 Rainbow Ryder balloons taking off from the Cottonwood Mall. Ordinarily, Rainbow Ryders would be participating in the Balloon Fiesta, which was canceled this year, due to Covid.
But Rainbow Ryders and others were keeping the fires burning for ballooning, through private enterprise this year. Rainbow’s intent is to keep launching flights daily, weather permitting, its representatives said. Albuquerque officials have encouraged the private party ballooning, labeling it Balloon Siesta. There were perhaps 50 balloons dotting the skies over Albuquerque. During Balloon Fiesta, more than 500 are typically launched.
Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque was ready this week and quietly anticipating opening festivities Oct. 6.
Fall is officially upon us. For CNM students and staff, that means Balloon Fiesta is right around the corner. With morning and evening mass ascensions and special shapes glows, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta lasts nine days this year. It starts this Saturday, Oct. 6, with the last session on Sunday, Oct. 14.
Park & Ride tickets are a way to save some money and avoid the headache of Balloon Fiesta traffic. At $12 in advance, Park & Ride covers admission and transportation to and from Balloon Fiesta Park, saving $13 over driving yourself.
This year features a laser light show during the morning glow each morning at 6:30 a.m., followed by the iconic mass ascensions at 7:00 a.m. The mass ascension is a massive launch of all the participating balloons in the morning sessions and is a spectacle of colors, sights and sounds. Special shapes balloon events are set up this year in both morning and evening sessions on Thursday, Oct. 11, and Friday, Oct. 12. Kid’s Day is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11, with special shapes balloons and performances by Fastrax Sky Divers during both sessions.
Balloon glows were first invented in Albuquerque in 1979, after local hot air balloonists inflated their balloons on Christmas Eve as a thank-you to residents. Now known as the Twilight Twinkle Glow, the Night Magic Glow and the Special Shapes Glowdeo, they offer visitors the magical experience of hot air balloons brilliantly lit from within, glowing brightly in the desert night sky. Balloon Glow evenings, followed by huge fireworks displays, are historically among the fiesta’s most popular events. Food, beverages and kid-friendly activities are planned. Music also is scheduled on many evenings, and a Music Fiesta on Saturday, Oct. 13. You can find event schedules, ticket information and more at BalloonFiesta.com. See you there!
The entire balloon fiesta is kid friendly but, Thursday, October 12th is Kid Day, presented by KOB-TV.
The morning will start off with a laser light show at 5:45 am.
Followed by dawn patrol at 6:00am and then a Special Shape rodeo at 7:00 am.
In the evening a Special Shape Glowdeo is scheduled at 6:00pm, followed by a laser light show at 7:45pm, then a firework show at 8:00pm.
*Kids 12 and under are free every day of the fiesta.
If you love the special shapes:
The special shape balloons are included in all of the mass ascension events, but if you are particularly fond of the special shape balloons try attending the Special Shape Rodeo and Glowdeo.
The Special Shape Rodeo is scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 12th and Friday, October 13th.
During this event, only the special shape balloons take the field and take flight.
On the evening of the 12th and 13th there will be a Special Shape Glowdeo where the special shape balloons take the field but do not take flight. Instead, they ignite the gas which creates a glowing effect across the field.
In addition to all of the old favorites, 17 new shapes will be joining the special shapes family.
Below are the new special shape balloons:
Click here to see a directory of all the special shape balloons participating in this year’s event.
If you want to conquer your fear of heights:
If you want to catch a ride on a balloon, contact Rainbow Ryders Inc at:
Albuquerque is home to the largest ballooning event in the world and the most photographed event on earth according the Balloon Fiesta media officials.
This week the 45th annual Balloon Fiesta came to a close.
The balloon fiesta is a local tradition according to Emilio Martinez, a CNM nursing major.
Some local CNM students, balloon crew workers, and spectators shared their favorite parts of the Balloon Fiesta.
“Nothing beats getting up super early, hitting Starbucks before the sun comes up and witnessing hundreds of balloons taking to the skies,” Cody Johnson, a CNM business and psychology major said.
Ricardo Baca, a recent CNM Aviation Maintenance graduate, recalls his first balloon fiesta experience, “I was 6 years old. I saw the sonic hedgehog and I told my mom; ‘Damn, he’s humongous, I bet I could beat the game with that sonic.’ I got in trouble and I only got my hot chocolate because it was cold. It was still a fun day though.”
“My favorite is the balloon glow,” Baca said. “I enjoy watching all of the shapes and colors while having a cold beer.”
Francine Stewart, who has been on the Belgium bear balloon crew since 2001 said, “The best part about crewing is being able to meet so many new people from all around the world. Every day is an adventure. My balloon crew has become more than friends to me, they are family!”
“My favorite part of the balloon fiesta would have to be walking around eating a Blake’s burrito with hot chocolate and enjoying the company I’m with,” Martinez said. For anyone who has not been to the balloon fiesta Martinez recommends to dress warm, bring friends and family and get a breakfast burrito.
Dawn patrol balloons take off before the rest of the balloons to make sure the whether is safe for flying.
Famous Darth Vader special shape balloon taking off during the mass ascension.
Cloud hopping is when a balloon doesn’t have a basket instead there is a small bench or chair for the pilot and riders to sit.
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.
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.