Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Celebrates 51st Event
August 3, 2023
Albuquerque, NM - The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, powered by ExxonMobil will launch from Balloon Fiesta Park, October 7-15, 2023. The 51st event, will feature more than 550 hot air balloons, of which at least 115 will be special shape balloons. The organization looks forward to welcoming pilots, their crews and guests from all over the world to help celebrate the international event.
The Balloon Fiesta is known for its signature mass ascensions, largest gathering of special shape hot air balloons and epic Balloon Glows in the shadows of the Sandia mountains. This year’s event will feature the prestigious Gordon Bennett gas balloon race, a distance competition that has previously seen teams fly as far as Wisconsin. Balloon Fiesta staff, board of directors and volunteers are in the midst of finalizing details for the nine-day event. Here are the popular and confirmed events for this year’s event:
ABQ Aloft: For locals and early visitors, Balloon Fiesta will kick off from local schools with Albuquerque Aloft on October 6, 2023. During Albuquerque Aloft, students, teachers and parents gather on their school grounds to meet pilots and crew and experience the excitement of watching and learning how balloons fly.
Mass Ascensions: More than 550 hot air balloons launch to the skies in multiple waves with hopes of catching the infamous Albuquerque Box. The Balloon Fiesta’s five signature morning mass ascensions launch both weekends (October 7-8, 14-15) and mid-week (October 11).
Balloon Glows: Balloon Fiesta Park lights up on five special nights for the signature Balloon Glows (October 7-8, 12-14). Imagine walking among 200-300 hot air balloons in static display as they flicker under the Albuquerque skies. One of the most popular places for selfies are in the midst of an "all-burn burner blast”
Special Shape Balloons: The largest collection of hot air balloons will fill the skies during the nine days of Balloon Fiesta. More than a hundred special shape balloons are anticipated for the 51st event., many of which will be featured during the Special Shape RodeoÔand GlowdeoÔ. A flying frog, cow and pigs will join a host of other shapes as they resemble items of a child’s toybox floating overhead.
Dawn Patrol & Show: Each morning includes a colorful display of hot air balloons launching to the skies in pre-dawn hours. Pilots will fly until it’s light enough to see landing sites. In addition to providing a visual treat, they provide a valuable service to other balloonists by giving them an idea of wind speeds and directions at different altitudes.
66th Gordon Bennett: The Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett is a premier gas balloon distance race. It is the oldest and most prestigious event in aviation and the ultimate challenge for pilots. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been selected to host the 66th event. Balloons will launch from Balloon Fiesta Park and the balloon that travels the farthest distance will be the winner. Each country is allowed to enter its three best teams. The last time this event was hosted by Balloon Fiesta was in 2008. The race is set to launch from Balloon Fiesta Park on October 7, 2023 with 17 Gordon Bennett Teams currently registered.
Flight of the Nations: In observance of all the visiting international pilots, this mid-week mass ascension will take place on October 11, 2023. Wednesday’s opening ceremony will begin with international pilots flying their countries’ flags from their balloons.
Fiesta de Los Globitos: Balloon Fiesta’s third annual remote-control balloon rally will feature at least 75 tethered balloons, which are scale model balloons, about 20 feet tall. The mini mass ascensions will take place at Balloon Fiesta Park, from 7:30-11 a.m. on October 8, 11 and 13, as well as a mini glow on October 14.
Entertainment: Music FiestaÔ will be held on Saturday, October 14, beginning at 1:00 p.m. This year’s lineup will include Headliner and Country Star Lee Brice, Quartz Hill Records recording artists Runaway June and opening act, Brandon Saiz. Guests who attend Music Fiesta can stay and enjoy that evening’s Night Magic Glow, Drone Show sponsored by Sandia Resort and Casino, Team Fastrax Skydiving team and AfterGlow fireworks.
Annular Solar Eclipse: This year’s Balloon Fiesta event has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of viewing the Annular Solar Eclipse during the International Balloon Fiesta starting at 9:13 a.m. on Saturday, October 14, 2023. NASA will have a presence at this year’s Balloon Fiesta with representatives staffing a tent and giving out complimentary viewing glasses for all guests to enjoy the eclipse.
More at Balloon Fiesta Park:
Guests will also be able to visit more than 40 food concessionaires and 40 different merchandise vendors, as well as enjoy returning attractions like the Artisans at Balloon Fiesta, a sand sculpture artist and Balloon Discovery Center. Guest options including Chasers’ Club, Gondola Club, Glamping, Camp 505 and the Concierge Program will be available this year.
About the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, powered by ExxonMobil is a festival of hot air balloons that takes place in October in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. It is the largest gathering of balloons and balloonists in the world. The 2023 event generated $203.19 Million into the Albuquerque and the State of New Mexico economies. For details on events, schedule, entertainment and photographs visit our website www.balloonfiesta.com and follow us on Twitter @BalloonFiesta and Facebook.