Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Balloon Fiesta in October 2022 was incredible. The sky was full of colors and creative shapes. Watched the crews prepare each hot air balloon.
Then hearing the fans as they filled up the balloon.
And finally cheering for the balloon as it received approvable from the ground crew to lift off up and into the clouds.
Balloon Fiesta Location
The Balloon Fiesta is hosted in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There is a massive field where all the hot air balloon crews set up. Spectators get to walk on the field and observe the action up close.
We were fortunate to be on a group bus that took us from the hotel to the front gate. Note, that the group busses have special lanes to get to the bus parking area. I saw many people in personal cars parking miles away and then walking to the venue. Our hotel was 15 mins away from the field and even with special lanes and parking, it took almost 2 hours to arrive due to traffic. Therefore, for next year, plan a min of 1.5 hours sitting in traffic.
Check your ticket in advance to see if you are allowed to enter in the morning, go back to your hotel for a nap, and then return to the venue in the evening. As many tickets do not allow you to return and many people had to purchase a second ticket to view the evening show.
There are so many activities taking place all day, each day. Be sure to obtain a schedule of events and be mindful of a time change if you are visiting from out of state.
Some of the events included a dawn patrol show where you get to watch a few balloons light up the sky (because it is still dark) to test the air for future balloons.
There is a mass ascension during the morning when the sun is up. This is where there are rows and rows of hot air balloons being prepared and lifting off into the sky.
Throughout the day there were music concerts, tents to learn about the history of hot air balloons, wood carving shows, and more.
In the evening there is a sky diving show and fireworks.
Food and Vendors
Wow, there are plenty of food vendors with ice cream, turkey legs, popcorn, and more.
If you are looking for merchandise to remember your experience, there are many vendors ready to sell you a pin or a t-shirt.
Since we were on a group trip there was an area for bus groups that had shaded tents with tables and chairs. They provided donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate.
There are many port-t-john-type restrooms everywhere. I was impressed with how clean they were throughout the day. They must have had a crew cleaning them often because many people were using the restrooms.
What to Bring
Be prepared for the weather. When we arrived in the early morning, it was cold and in the 50’s degrees Fahrenheit. I had on multiple layers of clothes including gloves, a beanie for my head, and used a hand warmer.
By the late morning around 11 am, I was in a tank top and light pants with a wide-brim sun hat.
Bring your chairs, water, hat, sunscreen, backup batteries for the camera, and phone charger.
I was taking so many photos and videos with my cell phone that by midday I used my battery pack to recharge my phone. You don’t want to get stuck with a dead phone.
Balloon Fiesta Experience Albuquerque, New Mexico
This was my first experience at the balloon fiesta. I am very glad that I attended. Be prepared for the weather to change and events to be canceled or delayed. Stay safe, have fun, and enjoy all the different colors of balloons.
Considering camping in New Mexico? Check out our stay at Quaking Aspin Campground.