Hundreds of Hot Air Balloons to Launch in Albuquerque

It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  It’s over 550 hot air balloons in the sky!

That’s right, folks, it’s time once again for the world’s largest hot air ballooning event- the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta!  Starting October 3rd and continuing through the 11th  thousands of hot air balloonists and tourists alike from around the world will come to the arid landscape of the New Mexico for a festival that that has been drawing media attention for years.

This year, 17 countries and 37 states will be represented, with more than 800,000 estimated people in attendance.  And even if you’ve never been to the festival, you’ve probably seen pictures of it, because photographs of the colorful balloons dotting the sky have been showing up on everything from calendars to desktop backgrounds since its inception 38 years ago.

Due to what is known as the “Albuquerque Box,” a unique combination of upper and lower level winds created by the Rio Grande Valley and the Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque has been chosen as a favorite spot for balloonists. Unlike most other places, these air currents allow balloonists to follow a circular path and land at the same spot that they launched from.

Never dull or disappointing, the hot air balloons at the Fiesta come in every shape imaginable, from flying cows to giant bumblebees.  There’s even a “Special Shape Rodeo” featuring some of the most untraditional-looking balloons.  And if your one of the 800,000 attendees that didn’t happen to pack your hot-air balloon, there are many craft booths and food to keep you busy as you look to the sky to see what launches next.