It’s that time of year again!! Every year on the first weekend of October the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque takes flight with 9 days of colorful balloons. Balloons of every shape and color imaginable fill the skies over our city. We were rookies last year and didn’t know what to expect. This year we planned ahead and everything fell into place for the best experience we’ve ever had! First, we decided to skip the weekend mass ascension and instead went on Wednesday for the Flight of the Nations event. This event recognizes the International balloons that participate in the fiesta as they carry their nations flags while lifting up into the skies. We found lighter crowds than on the weekends and almost as many balloons that took to the skies representing International countries, states, colleges, many shaped balloons plus any and all colors of the rainbow that you can imagine. We got up early and were out the door at 4:30 a.m. to head to the balloon field. We are approximately 6 miles away but you never know how traffic is going to be. We’ve heard horror stories of long lines, taking over an hour to park only to find that parking is already full. Not the case on this day. We were parked and inside the park a little after 5 a.m. Inside the park there are numerous places to get coffee, hot chocolate and breakfast burritos plus several tents filled with arts and crafts to walk through and pass the time. The “Dawn Patrol” begins between 5:45 and 6 a.m.. In the morning before dawn about a dozen balloons will begin to inflate. As they fire their burners, the balloons will appear to glow in the dark. One of the crew members told us that this year they were going to lift off in unison for the first time, normally they would go a few at a time. By accident we just happened to get to the Dawn Patrol balloons as they were laying them out on the ground. We watched them go through the process and had a front row view. I have never been to see the Dawn Patrol or a Balloon Glow evening event before. It’s hard to find the words to describe how beautiful it is as they glow and twinkle. If that were the only thing to see I would have gone away happy. But I hope you will scroll down and enjoy the rest of the morning as dawn breaks and balloons all around us ascend into the beautiful NM skies. Maybe you will be inspired to come to the balloon fiesta next year.
If the crew members didn’t have head lamps on we wouldn’t see a thing as it is so dark.
It takes several crew members working in the dark and tugging on ropes to keep the balloons in place as they begin to inflate.
You can now see the top of the balloon. It’s hard to describe how much space these balloons take up.
You can see the silhouette of a balloon in front as the orange balloon ignites and glows.
The ABQ International Balloon Fiesta is one of the only events where the public can walk among the balloons as they inflate and lift off. The pilots and crew share their knowledge and experience with the folks on the ground.
There were 11 balloons participating in the Dawn Patrol this morning.
I was front and center as the Southwest balloon lifted off!
How many balloons can you find in the dark? I counted 5.
One lone balloon with the stars and stripes flying towards the Sandia Mountains!
At 7 am with the sun rising, the rest of the field gears up to launch the first wave of balloons. We heard folks saying that the American balloon with the flag lifts off first.
A line of balloons inflated and ready to go. Just waiting on the go ahead from the “Zebra’s” who are the officials decked out in referee stripes.
This balloon is one of many New Mexico balloons. It also carried the NM flag as well as the American flag.
Penguin, Mr. Fish and a Cheetah.
This balloon got the go ahead to lift off.
From this side you can see the fans airing up the balloon on the ground.
This turtle was my favorite shaped balloon.
There was a space balloon in the middle getting ready to go up.
Some of the balloons seemed translucent in the sunshine. They almost glowed.
I never skip a chance to capture the Zia!!
The balloons are so close together but the crew and volunteers orchestrate the event beautifully! Everything is planned to perfection.
Looking towards the West, low clouds make a pretty landscape for these balloons!
For Josh who is currently in Wyoming!
Backside of NASA Astronaut and Smokey the Bear.
Another surprise, KU Balloon! This brings back memories of Kansas!
A cowboy and his faithful dog!
At around 9:30 a.m. most of the balloons have lifted off and are floating off in the distance.
Hard to leave the balloon field, but we’ll be back!
4 thoughts on “Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2019”
Great balloons! What a fun time! I love your area and would really love to live out your way instead of Chicago area, esp with winter approaching. I grew up in Louisville, KY and for the derby each year they have balloon races and so forth, so much fun to watch and so pretty! Love the cowboy and his dog above and Yoda too. Thanks, I enjoyed this post!
Thanks Pam! We are lucky that we live so close to the balloon field. On any given morning we will see anywhere from 1 to 20 balloons flying over us and sometimes they are so close we hear the burners before we see them. You would love the balloon fiesta, walking among the balloons as they inflate and go up is an experience next to none! It’s absolutely beautiful with every color and shape imaginable.
Amazing! I have never seen or been to a balloon fiesta.
Hi Angie, you need to put this on your bucket list! It’s amazing to see in pictures and video but to experience it in person is wondrous and a feeling of awe!