New Mexico: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

It began in the parking lot of the Coronado Center Mall in 1972 with just 13 balloons and has grown into one of the largest ballooning events in the world. Today, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place at a permanent site equaling more than 350 acres with over 700 balloons and 1,000 pilots. Further, the event draws participants from 22 countries including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Lithuania, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The event takes place at Balloon Fiesta Park in early October and draws over 850,000 visitors to Albuquerque over its nine day duration. The fiesta is divided into two sessions: morning and evening. The nine morning sessions begin at 5:45AM and wrap up around 12PM. The five evening sessions begin at 1:30PM and end at 8PM (there are no evening sessions on some days).

In 1989, the Special Shape Rodeo was added and has become the most popular event at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

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Visitors can walk amongst the unusual shaped balloons ranging from clowns to Star Wars characters and chat with the pilots. Each year there is a different theme and the sky is filled with balloons of all shapes and sizes creating a captivating spectacle.

If you are the daring type, you can schedule a balloon ride in advance by contacting RAINBOW RYDERS, INC. at: 1-800-725-2477.

In addition to the balloons, the event features a stage on Main Street where various bands and children’s acts perform.

For more information, visit: http://www.balloonfiesta.com/

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