The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is known to be the grandest among hot air balloon festivals in the world. The fiesta has featured hot air balloons for more than three decades since 1972 and every year in early October, people around the world flock to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to witness this enchanting event. So read along and keep us company as we share our own experience as to how stunning the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was in year 2010.
Nine Days of Remarkable Events
What makes the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta unique is the spectacular week-long event it offers to the public. One event that might heighten your interest is the Balloon Glows where the balloons are lit up all at the same time. It is associated with a countdown so spectators will be well-prompted as to when to get their cameras ready. It is said to be one of the favorites among the Fiesta’s various popular events. The balloons are truly breathtaking when all the balloons fire their burners at the same time and lit up the New Mexico’s sky at dusk. Also featured is the Fiesta of Wheels Car Show for car enthusiasts. It showcases hundreds of cars from classics to vintage; some modern unique ones are displayed as well. You would also enjoy for sure the flying competition, gas balloon race inflation, gas balloon race launch, and special shapes rodeo during the week.
Aside from the mentioned events, the fiesta holds a daily Dawn Patrol, early morning Mass Ascensions, and a fireworks show in the evening to end the day’s events. To keep yourself updated and well-informed of the daily events, go and check out the official website of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Special Shape Glowdeo and After Glow Fireworks
On our first day, we arrived at Albuquerque in around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Luckily, we’ve had enough time to prep up before the Balloon Glows event started at 5:45 PM. Then we decided to ride the hotel’s free shuttle service to the “park and ride” location. Soon after we arrived, we purchased bus tickets and headed for the queue. The line was pretty fine, not long enough to make you stand in the cold for too long. The bus ride was about 10 to 15 minutes. It might be better though to buy the Fiesta’s admission tickets online to avoid hassles at the entrance. When we arrived at the Balloon Fiesta location, we found several vendors lined up with all sorts of what the locals called as “greasy food”. But we’d like to say though that those were one of the best “fair foods” we’ve tasted ever! We had funnel cake, turkey leg, grilled corn, and some Greek food. Wish we’ve had the chance to taste every food at the balloon fiesta but there really was an overwhelming variety of food to choose from.
The Special Shape Glowdeo was an amazing event to see. Taken from the name itself, hot air balloons in all sorts of shapes and colors were on display. There were balloons in shapes of a cow, lady bug, Sponge Bob, bees, snowman, zebra, angel, crab, spider, and even Wells Fargo wagon balloon. There were hundreds of them! So we would advise that you come early to witness how these balloons are set-up, “fired-up”, and/or launched. The most spectacular sight for this event was when all of the balloons were illuminated at the same time. So make sure to listen to the announcement, stay alert for the countdown, and be ready with your cameras! As a matter of fact, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is said to be the most photographed event in the world.
The Special Shape Glowdeo was followed by the After Glow Fireworks event. It was absolutely a wonderful fireworks show, especially the surprisingly ground-based fireworks! If you have kids with you, this is a must for them to watch. They will surely enjoy the fireworks!
The Early Morning Mass Ascension
According to our sources, the best way to experience Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is during the early morning and the night events. And so the next morning, we came back to the location for the Early Morning Mass Ascension at 7:00 am. And as what the locals suggested, we came as early as we can. Luckily, we were able to witness the complete launching process which was absolutely amazing. Moreover, we captured great photographs of the more than 700 participating balloons! It was an incredible sight to witness hundreds of balloons in different shapes, colors and designs launched and join the other balloons in the sky. The whole crowd of people were so enthusiastic and cheerfully applauding as each balloon launched its way up. Kids of all ages are sure to appreciate this exciting event.
Our Suggested Tips for First-Timers
The following are some suggestions we came up to hopefully give you some ideas if you’re planning to attend next year’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. We hope these would somehow help you.
Visit the official website to give you further details and information about the fiesta and its various events. You can also find a list of participating hotels giving discounts. So if you want to grab the hotel promotions, you’d better do this seriously! The competition for getting the best deal is tight among the visitors planning to attend the fiesta. Make online hotel reservations as early as possible.
Another thing to consider is availing the “free shuttle service” offered by your hotel. It will not only allow you to save extra bucks but it is a lot more convenient as well. This is especially true if you are not well-acquainted with the town yet. You could also ask the driver some relevant questions about the town, food or the event itself to have a “local’s insight”.
Also, we would suggest getting attraction tickets online to avoid long lines when you get there. This will ensure that you won’t get stuck in the crowd. Check the official website for various promotions you can avail of as well. And if you are going to ride the bus to the location, make sure to know the name of your bus line. There are several bus queues that might get you confused. So make sure to know which bus you need to take to get you to your desired location.
Another tip we would highly recommend is waking up early, especially during the early mass ascension. If you don’t want to miss the exciting event, set your alarm clock early!
Bring blankets or extra jackets because temperatures at times drastically go down. Remember that it gets very chilly both in the early morning and night-time. You could bring folding chairs or picnic blankets to sit on. And of course you could bring your own food and some cash for the food vendors, souvenirs and commemorative items that you might want to purchase.
Just remember to act in pronto! Thousands of people go annually to this most anticipated event in New Mexico. So check the official website as early as you can if you want to get your hands on with the various hotel and ticket promotions. Some might already be available as you read this, so hurry up and check their website. Hope you’ll find yourself next year in Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta!
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albuquerque_International_Balloon_Fiesta