Every October, the skies of Albuquerque come alive with a vibrant display of over 500 balloons taking flight from Balloon Fiesta Park. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot-air balloon festival in the world, and it’s an event you won’t want to miss. As you wander through the festival, you’ll be surrounded by the mesmerizing sight of hot air balloons gracefully ascending into the cool autumn air. It’s an experience that will transport you to a dreamlike state.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a highly regarded event that draws visitors from around the globe. Taking place in the first week of October, it offers a sensory experience with the aroma of roasting chiles and the captivating sight of hot air balloons gracefully floating through the autumn sky. The Balloon Fiesta Park serves as the launch site for hundreds of balloons, creating a city-wide celebration that should not be overlooked.
One of the main attractions of the fiesta is the Dawn Patrol, which was introduced in 1978 by two California balloonists. They developed position lighting systems that allowed them to fly at night. The Dawn Patrol pilots take off before sunrise and continue flying until it is light enough to see landing sites. This is particularly appreciated by fellow balloonists as they can observe the balloons and gather early information about wind speeds and directions at different altitudes. On mass ascension days, around a dozen Dawn Patrol balloons perform the Dawn Patrol Show, a synchronized inflation and launch accompanied by music. This show has been a part of the Balloon Fiesta since 1996. The inflations for the Dawn Patrol begin at approximately 5:45 AM, weather permitting, with the actual launch taking place around 6:00 AM.
The balloon event will not only feature captivating balloons, but also a diverse range of talented performers, many of whom are local New Mexicans. These performers represent various styles and genres, adding to the magical experience.
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