>U Mom Knows Best: Things To Do At The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (When The Balloons Don't Go Up)

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Things To Do At The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (When The Balloons Don't Go Up)

 The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a 9-day hot air balloon festival that takes place every October in the state of New Mexico. Since the event takes place outdoors, the weather may interfere with the balloons ascending into the air, so be prepared with these other activities. 

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta just celebrated 50 years and many things do not as planned. For 9 days the outdoor event was supposed to be an enchanted world of special shape balloon rodeos, twilight balloon glows, and vibrant balloon-filled skies. The problem was mother nature had other plans and the weather did not cooperate. So many of the balloon events were canceled.

While New Mexico is the perfect place for hot air balloons with the Albuquerque Box*. Days of persistent rain, wind, and shifting weather patterns made the sky a dangerous place for the hot air balloons. That meant that the ballooning events for many of the 9 days were canceled. Out of the nine days with 14 events, only 6 balloon events happened. Those 6 events all happened in the morning with balloon ascensions and none of the nighttime balloon glowdeos took place this year at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. When compared to the 2021 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, 2022 was not a good year for the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. 

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Tip ~ Plan to attend more than one Hot Air Balloon event, that way you have a backup event on the schedule if one gets canceled.

*Albuquerque's predictable wind patterns, known as the “Albuquerque Box,” make it easy for balloon pilots to navigate in the Rio Grande Valley. The area's cool air temperature in the early morning also helps the balloons rise faster and handle better.

What to do at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Site if the hot air balloons do go up into the sky

The weather in Albuquerque can be unpredictable at times. You made plans to attend a session at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque and the weather looked ok when you headed to the Balloon Fiesta Park. You pay your parking fee, park your car, and then pay to get into the Ballooning event. Then the wind starts to pick up and the hot air balloons are unable to inflate. The hot air balloons are unable to do their morning mass ascension or their nighttime glowdeo. 

 So now what? You paid plenty of money to see over 500 hot air balloons rise up into the sky and that did not happen. Should you leave the balloon fiesta park? The answer is no as there is plenty to do at the event beyond watching hot air balloons. Keep reading to discover many other activities of things to do at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

Admission to all these events are free once inside Balloon Fiesta gates.   except for number 3

1. The Balloon Discovery Center

The Balloon Discovery Center is a fun learning place for the whole family. It is focused on educating children about hot air balloons but is packed full of fascinating information for everyone. Kids can pick up a passport activity booklet that guides them through nearly a dozen stations teaching everything from Albuquerque's unique wind pattern to weaving a balloon basket. The Balloon Discovery Center also has a room devoted to learning about NASA.

2. Artisan Tent

 The Artisan tent is an arts and crafts show located on-site during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. With around 30 artisans featured, there is a little something for everyone. From jewelry to amazing things to hang on your walls, these are high-quality crafts. So be sure to plan your stroll through the artisan tent to take home a wonderful handcrafted souvenir to remember your trip. 

3. Balloon Museum

 The Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum is the place to learn about the history of hot air balloons. The Balloon Museum is located immediately south of the balloon park. Inside you'll find interactive exhibits, lots of history, and prime viewing of the field below. While the Balloon museum is not free your Balloon Fiesta admission includes a $1 off coupon to the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum.

4. Enjoy Delicious Food

The Balloon Fiesta has plenty of food vendors with a variety of delicious food. From coffee and donuts to fried alligator with many other food choices, there is a huge variety of food vendors selling food. Make sure to enjoy an authentic green chile breakfast burrito.

5. Picture Opportunities

 The Balloon Fiesta has plenty of places for great photo opportunities. From a real tramway car to several face-cut-out murals, you can take plenty of photos to remember the day. Make sure to get a selfie by the big Albuquerque sign.

6. Chainsaw Carvers

The AIBF Chainsaw Carving Exhibition is a must-see event! Stop by the tent and watch the artists create works of art with wood and a powerful chainsaw. Guests and spectators will have the opportunity to take one of the beautiful carvings home with a live auction that is held each exhibition day.

7. Fireworks & Drone Laser Show

The evening events at the Balloon Fiesta include fireworks and a drone laser show. Even if the balloon glow is canceled, the fireworks and drone laser show will go on. It's pretty awesome to see fireworks followed by hundreds of drones in the sky that make pretty pictures.

8. Entertainment Stage

The Balloon Fiesta has a main stage with a variety of local entertainment. Stop by to watch dancers, singers, bands, and more

9. Go Shopping

 Along with the many places to grab a bite to eat, there are plenty of booths to buy a balloon souvenir or many other items. From clothing to coffee mugs, posters, pins, and even collector items, vendors row is the place to grab gifts for the holidays. These shopping tents are fun to browse.

10. Play Games and Collect Free Stuff

 A trip to the Abq Balloon Fiesta always includes checking out the tents that local businesses have set up. From booths that offer tourist information to booths that have fun games to play. This is the place to get some cool swag like sunglasses, toothbrushes, pens, and even snacks. My son loves playing the spinning games and he always wins coupons to local stores.

 If the weather is perfect and the hot air balloons are able to go up in the morning mass ascension, you should still check out all these activities at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta park. These activities are available to check out before, during, and after the balloons lift up into the sky. If you attend the evening session of the Balloon Fiesta, I recommend arriving at the balloon park an hour or more before it gets dark. That way you can do the many fun activities before the balloon glow as the activities are not available after the balloon glow.

My son flew an Air Force jet simulator at the tent that the Air Force managed at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.


Jamie said...

That event is definitely on my bucket list. We are having a REALLY small one here in the White Mountains of Arizona each year, but I think that there were like 8 balloons. I know that's like one little tiny corner of yours. Can't wait to enjoy it one day, and visit your amazing state!

Mom Knows Best said...

You are so close to New Mexico, hope you can plan a trip.

Kelly said...

Chainsaw carvers?? Holy cow. So many reasons to visit!

AiringMyLaundry said...

This looks like a cool event! If we lived closer, we would go for sure.

Monica Simpson said...

What a bummer for that to happen. Looks like there's plenty of other fun things to do though!

Lisa said...

I have never heard of the The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, but the pictures make it look like a fun afternoon. Balloons up or not.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a pretty amazing experience, I would love to check this out.

Lavanda Michelle said...

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta sounds amazing! I would love to take my family and experience everything!

Richelle Milar said...

Wow! This looks like a really wonderful and amazing event! I would love to experience this with my family!

Lois said...

What a fun event. Sad that some balloons did not go up, but there is lots of stuff to do.

Beautiful Touches said...

So it seems like it wouldn't be a complete wash if the balloons can't go up in the air on the day of the event!

Forever My Little Moon said...

This looks like such a fun festival! I would love to watch hot air balloons lift off!

Melanie Edjourian said...

Oh wow, that sounds like great fun. Good to hear there are plenty of things to do there to keep the family entertained.

Heather said...

Oh wow, this looks like an amazing event to attend. We have a balloon glow here once a year, its always really fun!

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