Guide to The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Guide to The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Posted on October 5, 2023

Back for its 51st year, The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, often referred to simply as “Balloon Fiesta,” is the world’s largest hot air balloon festival. The event attracts over 500 hot air balloons and thousands of visitors from around the globe to celebrate color, artistry and the pure joy of flight. The fest spans nine days, from Oct. 7 to Oct. 15, and takes place at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque. The following is your guide to the special fall event.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is one of the most breathtaking and colorful events to take place in the Land of Enchantment. Each year, the clear skies over Albuquerque are filled with a sea of colors as hundreds of hot air balloons from all around the world grace the skies. This world-famous celebration has captivated spectators for decades, making it a must-visit for anyone looking for a unique and unforgettable experience.

The hot air balloons come in an astounding array of shapes and sizes, ranging from classic teardrop designs to fanciful creations resembling animals, beloved cartoon characters and more. As they ascend into the New Mexico sky, spectators will be entranced by this kaleidoscope of colors and forms. (Click here to check out our blog post on the top spots to view the display).

In addition to the hot air balloon launch, the 66th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett, the world’s oldest and most prestigious gas balloon race, will be hosted at the festival for the first time since 2008. The race features seventeen skilled balloon teams and some of the world’s top gas balloon pilots. For those eagerly anticipating the race, the launch window for the Gordon Bennett will open at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Though the vibrant balloon display is the star of the show, The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has a few more tricks up its sleeve, including an assortment of entertainment like the Music Fiesta, taking place on Saturday, Oct. 14. The star-studded lineup includes performances by Brandon Saiz (1 p.m.), Runaway June (2:30 p.m.) and Lee Brice (4 p.m.). Attendees can catch these shows rain or shine with tickets included in admission for general seating or starting at $30 per person for reserved seating.

On the north end of Balloon Fiesta Park, visitors can discover the awe-inspiring exhibition on wood chainsaw carving. The demonstration will take place daily from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., with an auction selling the art pieces following the carvings at 10 a.m.

A true fiesta wouldn’t be complete without delicious food and The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta doesn’t disappoint with an assortment of culinary delights to indulge in. With over 50 food vendors to explore, guests can savor a wide range of plates, from sweet treats to international and fair-style eats. In addition to food sites, there is over one-third of a mile of concession stands offering handmade arts and crafts, souvenirs and more.

Tickets to The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta start at $15 per person, 12-plus, per session. One session will occur in the morning, while the second will occur during the evening. All shows are included with the purchase of admission.

For more information on scheduling, entertainment or to purchase tickets, visit

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