BALLOONING

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®

Each year Albuquerque hosts the largest gathering of hot air balloons on the planet. More than 750 balloons take flight at once. It is a breathtaking sight.

Ballooning Capital of the World
is a site dedicated to all things ballooning with a focus on the ballooning events in New Mexico

A rapid-fire view of the world’s largest annual balloon gathering, filling the Albuquerque skies for 9 days every October. The 2013 version of the Balloon Fiesta drew more than 500 balloons, and pulled in visitors from all over the world. It carries the title as the world’s most photographed event, and you will see why.

For more than three decades, guests from all over the world come to Albuquerque to celebrate ballooning at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Generally this event takes place the second week of October.

The New Mexico skies are painted as hundreds of balloons lift off from Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park. Nothing rivals the power of Mass Ascension on crisp early mornings as these graceful giants leave the ground to take their place in the cerulean desert sky. For ballooning fans worldwide, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a pilgrimage. There’s something for everyone to enjoy . . . whimsical special shapes filled with equal parts of hot air and wonder, and Balloon Glows that create a magical night landscape for spectators to wander. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will leave you awestruck and wanting more.

From its modest beginnings in 1972 with 13 balloons launching from a shopping mall parking lot, the Balloon Fiesta has grown to multiple events launching year-round at the custom-designed, 365-acre Balloon Fiesta Park. The signature event remains Balloon Fiesta—which, with over 600 balloons, is the largest ballooning event on earth, the most photographed event on earth, and the largest annual international event held in the United States.

Balloon Fiesta Park is located north of Alameda Boulevard, one mile west of I-25.

Red Rock Balloon Rally

More than 200 balloons from across the country will take to the skies December 6-8, 2013 for the 33nd annual Red Rock Balloon Rally in and near Gallup.

Frequently described as a balloonist’s paradise, a highly prized invitation to this event – the second largest balloon event in the world – offers pilots the opportunity to compete for fine Native American Arts and crafts. You’ll want to have your camera ready as these rainbow colored giants come to life.

The Red Rocks are the cemented sands of a fossilized beach, colored by dissolved iron seeping down from more recent volcanic activity, and then worn smooth by Anasazi residents who carved hand and toe holds into the walls to reach the mesa tops. Now, adventure-seeking balloonists soar above the magnificent canyons where movie producers still film Western epics. This is the only ballooning event where spectators are encouraged to become active participants by joining balloon chase crews. The Red Rock Balloon Rally partners with many area service organizations to help provide funding for local service activities.

Events include:

Friday, December 6

Mass Ascensions at Fox Run Golf Course and Red Rock Park, 7:30 a.m.
Glow in the Rocks and Indian Dances at Red Rock Park, 6 p.m.

Saturday, December 7

Dawn Patrol at Red Rock Park, 6:30 a.m.
Mass Ascension at Red Rock Park, 7:30 a.m.
Pyramid Rock Run at Red Rock Park, 8 a.m.
Downtown Christmas Parade, 2 p.m.
Balloominaria at Rio West Mall and Castle Furniture, 6 p.m.

Sunday, December 8

Dawn Patrol at Red Rock Park, 6:30 a.m.
Mass Ascension at Red Rock Park, 7 a.m.
Awards Brunch and Auction at Red Rock Park, 10 a.m.

Elephant Butte Balloon Regatta

The annual Elephant Butte Balloon Regatta at Elephant Butte Lake State Park each September is one of the country’s most unique balloon adventures. Balloonists, skippers and sponsors come together for mass ascensions and “Splash-n-Dash” balloon-boat relay races. “Chase” crews are motorboats.

The Regatta traces its history back to the 1970s when balloonists would travel to Elephant Butte Lake when they decided that spring had finally arrived and it was time to go to “the lake” and fly.

It has evolved into an incredible getaway for recreationists everywhere.

Encompassing the largest and most popular lake in New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake State Park provides camping, boating, water skiing, swimming, fishing, hiking and bird watching. The visitor center offers regional information and interpretive exhibits. Southern New Mexico’s mild climate makes this park a popular year-round destination.

Taos Mountain Balloon Rally  Association

Taos Mountain Balloon Rally Association

Taos Mountain Balloon Rally

Every year on the last full weekend in October, as the trees in the high country surrounding historic Taos erupt into a painter’s canvas of oranges, reds, ambers and yellows, even more color is added to the vista as the Taos skies are filled with dozens of brightly colored hot air balloons lifting into the clear, cold dawn of a Taos Mountain sunrise during the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally.

Smaller than many such events, the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally typically hosts 35-50 balloons and crew each year. The rally, primarily because it is smaller and more intimate, has become a popular stop for balloonists, families and crews. The event is very popular with locals, as well. Parents and kids alike get “up-close and personal” with the balloonists every morning as the crews prepare for launch.

Taos Mountain Balloon Rally Association
P. O. Box 3096
Taos, New Mexico 87571
Phone:  575-758-9210
sandy.olsen12@gmail.com