World’s largest balloon festival to kick off next month
The 42nd Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will take place in the U.S. state of New Mexico in October.
Known as the largest hot air balloon festival in the world, the event’s history dates back to 1972, when it began to mark the 50th birthday of a local radio station.
The Roadrunner-Coyote Balloon Race is one of the most celebrated activities taking place as part of the occasion, with other notable events including the World Hot-Air Balloon Championships and a dawn patrol. Spectators are able to see anywhere up to 600 balloons in the sky over the week.
Further activities include nightly balloon glows and mass balloon ascensions. The latter also sees a special release of unusual balloons, with vessels in the past including twin bees, a cow and a fizzy drinks can.
The calm climate of Albuquerque allows for it to be considered an ideal place for ballooning, with more than 300 resident balloonists taking to the skies every year – a greater number than many other states.
Another recent addition to the Balloon Park is the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum – which will also open during the Festival. The museum showcases some of the world’s most impressive collections of ballooning memorabilia and equipment.
Unusually, visitors are allowed to walk around the balloon site at the festival, either watching as the vehicles as they are being inflated or sometimes actively helping pilots.
Being such a popular event, with average attendances in excess of 700,000, early booking is advised for anyone looking to make the trip for the Fiesta, which starts on October 5 and finishes October 13.