The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta lasts nine days in October and fills the skies over New Mexico with hundreds of colorful balloons. This is a must-see festival for ballooning fans around the world. This festival is the perfect fall celebration. The festival that began with only 13 balloons in 1972 now takes place in the 365-acre Balloon Fiesta Park and features more than 700 balloons.
The Balloon Fiesta has 14 sessions, each offering activities that are planned during a certain time frame. Morning and evening sessions are available. Morning sessions are available on each of the nine days of the festival and there are five evening sessions available throughout the event. Morning sessions start at 4:30 a.m. and evening sessions start at 3:30 p.m. The park closes at approximately 9 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online or at 7-Elevan stores in Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Socorro, Moriarty, Mountainair and Rio Rancho on Sept. 1, 2016. General admission is $10 per session and packs of 5 session tickets are available for $45 per pack. Other ticket options and packages are also available on the website.
There are a variety of different activities planned for the festival, including opening ceremonies, Krispy Kreme Morning Glow and Twilight Twinkle Glow. Times and activities may change due to inclement weather. Check the complete schedule at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s website.
Those wanting to attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will have a variety of accommodations available to them. Guests attending this festival can choose to stay on-site in their RV, stay at a featured hotel (at a discounted rate) or relax at a local bed and breakfast. All offer comfortable accommodation options close to the action of the festival.
There are 29 hotels and inns located bear Balloon Fiesta Park. Many of these locations are offering special discounted rates for ballooning enthusiasts coming to Albuquerque for the festival. Some of these hotels and inns include the Econo Lodge East, GuestHouse Inn & Suites Albuquerque Airport, Howard Johnson Albuquerque Midtown, MCM Elegante and Ramada Albuquerque East. For more information on these hotels and inns or to get your discounted room rate click here for the Balloon Fiesta Hotel website.
In addition to a variety of hotel options available, there are some bed and breakfasts located throughout Albuquerque. Some of the more popular B&Bs include Brittania Mauger Estate, Downtown Historic B&B, Bella Roma Bed and Breakfast, Cinnamon Morning B&B and Bottger Mansion of Old Town. For more information about the bed and breakfasts in the area visit the Albuquerque Bed and breakfast association’s website.
RV camping during the Balloon Fiesta is available. Sites available include standard dry camping, premium with 30AMP and water connection and VIP sites. However, at this time, all sites are sold out. Visit the website to get on the wait list for this year’s festival. Those planning ahead for the 2017 festival can make RV reservations starting Oct. 18, 2016.
There are a variety of different transportation options available to you when coming to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The Alvarado Transportation Center offers access to ABQRide, Amtrak, Greyhound Lines and New Mexico Rail Runner Express (the commuter rail line). You can also rent a car from Avis or Budget or even hire the services of a local limousine or taxi company.
Park and Ride is available to those who wish to park in an off-site lot and beat the traffic in and out of the festival. Park and Ride tickets are available for advance purchase or at the bus. On-site parking is also available for $15 per vehicle. Parking passes are not available for advance purchase and must be paid for upon arrival.
Heather Landon (Heather Leigh Carroll) is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.