So whats this Balloon Fiesta thing anyway?
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a big deal, and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Albuquerque area annually. This can cause a bit of traffic congestion, specifically at dawn / dusk. Due to the proximity of our campout to the Balloon Fiesta Park, traffic will be a bit of a mess during the events. Be sure to check the Balloon Fiesta Schedule of Events and try to plan your arrival and any running around during non-peak times.
The morning starts out with a few veteran hot air balloon crews launching to check the weather patterns and conditions. They report back if it’s okay to launch. They typically launch before the sun comes up over the Sandia Mountains. Bring your coats and gloves, as this is the coldest part of the day, and is on grass, typically wet with dew. There are plenty of vendors already open, many of which serve coffee and hot chocolate.
Ever see hundreds of hot air balloons take off all at the same time? It’s rad! If the dawn patrol crews give the all-clear, the balloon crews lay out their balloons and start filling them with air. This is a great place to be when it’s cold, as the heat from the balloon burners can be instantly felt from many feet away. Some balloon crews will even put you to work holding the basket down if you’re close enough. When the balloons are upright and inflated, they launch in a “mass ascension”, seemingly filling the sky with hot air balloons. Once the first wave is aloft, the second group starts setting up. This pattern continues for several hours, sending hundreds and hundreds of balloons of all shapes, sizes and colors into the air. A weather phenomenon known as the “Albuquerque Box” produces an atmospheric wind pattern that results in balloons remaining over the park during the morning hours. This means if the weather cooperates, the balloons can take off AND land at the balloon fiesta park.
There are many vendors of all kinds inside the Balloon Fiesta Park. Many food / drink vendors will be there as well as merchandise, craft and art vendors. There is plenty to see in the balloon fiesta park!
Rainbow Ryders is the only private company that offers Balloon Rides from the Balloon Fiesta Park during the mass ascension. All other private balloon ride companies launch from various places around the city. I would HIGHLY recommend booking your ride sooner rather than later as they are VERY popular.
October in New Mexico can be quite interesting. Daytime temps can push into the high 80’s, while overnight temps can dip down into the 30’s. Bring a Coat and gloves but don’t forget your sunscreen and a hat. Remember to stay hydrated. I recommend bringing a backpack to the balloon fiesta park with an extra pair of socks (wet grass, remember?), sunscreen, a hat and a bottle or two of water. Don’t forget extra batteries / film / memory cards for your camera!
Anything else you have questions about or want to know? Let us know.