Lots of hot air balloons over

Albuquerque Balloon Festival

Early morning scene at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The nose of an inflatable half-scale model of a NASA F/A-18 in front of the NASA Aeronautics exhibit.

The is a yearly festival of hot air balloons that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA during early October. The Balloon Fiesta is a nine day event, and has around 750 balloons. The event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world.


Big Green Cat, 2007 Fiesta. Close Encounter, 2007 Fiesta

The Balloon Fiesta began in 1972 as the highlight of a 50th birthday celebration for 770 KOB Radio. Radio station manager Dick McKee asked Sid Cutter, owner of Cutter Flying Service and the first person to own a hot air balloon in New Mexico, if KOB could use his new hot-air balloon as part of the festivities. The two began discussing ballooning, along with conversation and help from Oscar Kratz, and McKee asked what the largest gathering of hot air balloons to date had been. 19 balloons in England, Cutter replied. Kratz asked "Can we get 19 here?" Cutter agreed to try. He got commitments from 21 pilots, but bad weather kept some of them from arriving in time. The first fiesta ended up as a gathering of 13 balloons on April 8, 1972, sponsored by KOB. The first event was located in the parking lot of the Coronado Center Shopping Mall with 20, 000 spectators and with balloonists from Arizona, California, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Texas taking part. McKee, Cutter, and Kratz are the three men who had originally started the balloon races. The first fiesta incorporated a "Roadrunner-Coyote Balloon Race" (a "hare-and-hounds" race elsewhere in the world) with 1 balloon being the "Roadrunner" and the others being "Coyote" balloons (the "Roadrunner" balloon was actually emblazoned with likenesses of both Warner Bros. characters). The winner of the race - the "Coyote" that landed closest to the Roadrunner - was Don Piccard of the noted aerostation dynasty, flying a balloon of his company's design and construction (his wife also placed in the race). This race has continued as part of the Balloon Fiesta today.

The next year Albuquerque hosted the first World Hot-Air Balloon Championships in February and the fiesta became an international event. In 1975 Albuquerque was looking at hosting the World Championships again, but the event was scheduled for October. So the fiesta was moved to correspond with the championships. To maintain interest in Albuquerque’s bid to host the championships, a balloon rally was held in February of that year. Autumn being a far better flying time than February, the event has remained in early October to the present day.

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My bucket list

by Loves-to-Dive

Travel to the Bordeaux region of France
Dive the Galapagos
Learn to ride horses (taking lessons now)
Attend the Albuquerque balloon festival
Become a decent cook (so that my wine has something in-house to pair with)
Entertain at home more
Become more accomplished with my photography
Write a book, or should I say 'finish' writing a book.
and a few more...

Trip report: New Mexico Science Valley

by peter303

Last month I mentioned I was taking a Spring break trip to central Mew Mexico to catch some science sights. The main timing constraint was "ground zero"- the first atom bomb site- opens just two Saturday mornings a year (April 5, October 4; October is the same weekend as Albuquerque balloon festival, making it hard to find cheap travel).
So we got a very cheap airfare and rental car to Albuquerque. First made a quick side trip to Santa fe art galleries, then head downt to the first hotel stop in Socorro. An hour outside Socorro is the Very Long Baseline radio telescope array

Whats worth seeing in Alb?

by NashvilleNate

I'm coming to Albuquerque this week and was wondering what are the must see things in the city. This is my first visit ever and the only thing I know if is the huge balloon festival that is going on. What else is there to do around town if I am going to be there for Thurs-Fri. Local restaurants, sites, etc. Thanks for the help.

That's something I'd like to do too


Any special time of year you're going? There's a balloon festival in Albuquerque in October every year.
Have you checked the timetable? I believe there's only one train a day in each direction so you'll need a ticket which would allow for several breaks of journey.

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On The Record With .. Rebecca Vieyra  — Northwest Herald
So I'll be working in that aerospace educational outreach and helping with STEM conferences, international science fairs and maybe the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. Engelhardt: You've already had a lot of success as a teacher it looks like.

A Colorful Time-Lapse of the World's Largest Balloon Festival  — The Atlantic
Every October, Albuquerque is invaded by hundreds of hot-air balloons for the International Balloon Fiesta.

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