Your Guide to the 2017 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
September was filled with exciting things to do, and if you want to continue your fun into October, you can start with the 2017 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! It’s one of the coolest events in New Mexico in October, and there will be over 500 hot air balloons. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is also the world’s largest hot air balloon festival, with an estimated crowd of over 500,000 people each year.
There will be plenty of beautiful, colorful, creative, and artistic hot air balloons at the Fiesta. Many photographers and visitors will take advantage of the brilliant scenery in photos. With the sunsets and the skyline with hot air balloons from all over the world, you can’t get a bad picture! You can even enter your amazing images in the photo contest. There are also laser light and fireworks shows. Use our guide to the 2017 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, to make the most of your experience.
2017 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Fees & Expenses
Whether you are local or coming from out of town or out of state, you need to know how much this amazing experience is going to cost you. Aside from your travel and lodging expenses, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is surprisingly inexpensive. Of course, you can naturally see the balloons from a distance for free if you are in the area. If you want a closer look, and of course you do, then you only have to pay $10 for admission to any session, and children under 12 are free. If you drive, then you will also have a parking fee of $15, though there are other transportation options available also.
2017 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Schedule
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place over the course of nine days, every year. In 2017, the event starts on the morning of Saturday, October 7. There are two sessions on most days, with various shows, competitions, and events. The morning sessions go from 5:45 am to 11 am. The evening sessions go from 1:30 pm to 8 pm. On October 9th, 10th, 11th, and 15th there are no evening sessions.
Morning Sessions at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Every morning, from October 7th to October 15th, there will be an early laser light show at 5:45 am. This is followed by Dawn Patrol, the first balloons launched before the day gets going, at 6 am. From there, it depends on the day. On the 7th, the Opening Ceremonies will start around 6:45 am, followed by a Morning Glow, Mass Ascension, and the AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational (daily).
The morning session schedule is similar on October 8th, but there will also be the Fiesta of Wheels Car Show on the Launch Field at 9am and Balloon Fiesta Pin Trading at 11am.
October 9th is Propane Day, and is when the actual flying competitions start at 8 am. These competitions continue on the 10th, Coca-Cola Day, and the 11th. Also on October 11th, you can experience the Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension at 7 am (no evening sessions on these days).
If you’re bringing the kids, then they will be really excited about Kids Day on October 12th. There will be a Special Shape Rodeo at 7 am on the 12th and 13th, and the flying competitions will proceed at 8 am.
October 14th will have the Mass Ascension at 7 am again, and more Balloon Fiesta Pin Trading at 11am. Finally, on October 15th, there is only a morning session with the Farewell Mass Ascension at 7 am. Then, the AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational will wrap up with a Q&A session at 8:30 am.
Evening Sessions at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The evening sessions will start with the AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational from 1:30 pm to 5 pm. On the 14th, you can also attend the Music Fiesta between 1 pm and 5 pm. The America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race Inflation takes place on the 7th at 2 pm, with the launch at 6 pm.
There will also be balloon glow events in all of the evening sessions at 6 pm, with laser light shows at 7:45 pm, and fireworks at 8 pm. On Kids Day, on October 12th and October 13th, the evening balloon glow will be a Special Shape Glowdeo that kids of all ages are sure to remember.
Tips for Enjoying the 2017 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Our guide to the 2017 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta wouldn’t be complete without a few tips to ensure that you enjoy your experience and don’t experience too much stress in the process.
- Bring warm clothing for those early mornings and evenings.
- Wear sunscreen, even if it’s chilly out. You can still get burned!
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Consider using the alternative transportation options that are available to save time and traffic. Many people like to ride bikes to get around.
- Bring lawn chairs because there isn’t much seating.
- Arrive early to avoid the challenges of the crowds on arrival.
- Get up early to enjoy the hot air balloons at sunrise.
- Be sure to go on the weekdays when there is a smaller crowd, and just as much fun!
What is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Really Like?
If you’ve never been to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, then you may be wondering what it’s really like. Fortunately, for the curious and those who just can’t make it this year, we created a timelapse video from the 2015 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta for you to enjoy. If you get videos and photos from the 2017 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, share them in the comments!