“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

2021 Albuquerque Balloon Festival

Come on, we’re going to see balloons!
Well, the coronavirus pandemic may have popped our balloon, forcing Albuquerque to cancel its annual event, but there’s always next year and we’re determined to be there!
This dazzling event of spectacular beauty, said to be the most photographed event on earth, is the largest hot air ballooning event in the world. Each October hundreds of balloonists with their towering balloons in all shapes and sizes flock to the Land of Enchantment for nine days of spectacular hot air ballooning displays. Thousands of tourists from around the world arrive to see mass ascensions of hundreds of balloons, the gas balloon race, balloon glows, balloon competitions, and more.
Special events include:
Dawn Patrol, when pilots take off before sunrise and fly until it is light enough to see landing sites.
Mass Ascensions, where all participating balloons launch in two waves, filling the sky with hundreds of balloons at once.
Special Shape Rodeo, launching many non-traditional, uniquely shaped balloons at the same time. Some of the most famous shapes include a milk cow, a wagon coach, twin bees, and many others like soft drink cans and various animals.
Balloon Glows, when large numbers of balloons are illuminated at night by their propane burners, standing static without taking off. The “Glowdeo” is a night glow for the special shapes balloons.
More Special Events and Competitions
  • The Fiesta Challenge, a game where balloonists attempt to drop a marker closest to a target.
  • America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race, where special long-distance gas balloons are inflated and then launched. The winner of the race is the balloon that travels the farthest. Some balloons in the race have gone as far as Canada and the U.S. East Coast.
  • The Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension, where balloonists from each nation launch, one at a time, to their national anthem and waving their nation’s flag.
  • Other piloting, skill, and speed competitions.

Thursday, October 7        Arrive Albuquerque on own
                                           Welcome Reception
Friday, October 8             6 a.m. – Depart for Fiesta Park Shuttle (later if you prefer)
                                            7 a.m. – 11 a.m. – Gondola Club morning session
                                            5 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Gondola Club evening session
Saturday, October 9        Enjoy the Balloon Fiesta or pursue other interests.
Sunday, October 10          Train to Santa Fe for a day of shopping and sightseeing
Monday, October 11         Depart for Home