Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque has been on our must-do list since fellow travelers told us all about their home town of Albuquerque and described the balloons flying right over their house during the Fiesta! The event was way better than their stories could convey.
We had heard about the challenges of reserving premium RV sites so we joined a group that was already experienced at all the logistics. Fantasy RV Tours and Rallies did a great job. Our tour was 7 days at the front half of the fiesta while another tour for 5 days was offered during the last half of the Fiesta. Either one would be awesome.
Besides being within walking distance of the field, one of the advantages of joining this tour was the large number of ambassadors assigned to direct parking the RVs, serving meals, providing sight seeing information and greeting us with warm smiles every day. Free shuttles run between the RV areas and the field but we walked a few times too. The meals and drinks at our group’s tent were good, the extra tours and entertainment were great add-ons making the whole experience fantastic.
The downside was the weather in Albuquerque, which caused cancellation of many of the Fiesta activities. At least the clouds created more interesting photos here and there. After the first morning, I told Bruce, “Even if everything else is canceled, I will leave happy with the experience and photos we got today!”
We lucked out with our RV facing toward the field so we could see the fireworks and balloons from our front seats! Nice and comfy! We always preferred being at the field for balloon launches but nice to have an alternative.
The first morning before the fiesta even started, we woke up to balloons directly overhead! We were so excited and ran outside in our PJ’s to watch them. The firing of the burners sound like whales coming up for air. I will never forget that sound and the childlike excitement that came with it. We will definitely go back, and when we do, we hope for less cancellations. The weather does reduce the crowds a bit though. We heard the field can be closed when it reaches capacity, but that was not a factor this time.
The Balloon Museum is on the way to the field and is a must see. There were some premium viewing experiences at the museum and might be a great alternative for some. It would be a completely different experience than being on the field in the pitch dark with balloons firing all around. It is a crazy circus and a photographer’s heaven either way.
It’s almost impossible to narrow down the photos but here are some (too many), I hope you enjoy them!
Bruce watches entertainment in the gathering tent
First morning glow
And they’re off! Note the crowd on the field right around the balloons
Moon shines above the field as balloon takes off
Yes we are directly below the launch
Dawn patrol launches while moon glows above the horizon
Lazer light show augments the dawn patrol
Fantastic display of burners across the field with and without balloons
Once enough air is blown in by fans, the burner’s finish the job
No breathing room on the field
Everywhere you look somehing is happening. Inflating, standing, launching, flying and people EVERYWHERE
Sun peaks thrugh the balloons
Zebra safety team at work deciding who goes next
Shadow of the basket makes a nice shot
These three balloons and balloonists were really fast, showing off their skill in the flag drop exercises
The sky is filled with balloons as more move in to take their place at launch sites
Sun illuminates beautiful balloon patterns
Sun finally shining after several events were canceled for poor ballooning conditions
A deflating balloon adds to the action everywhere
A balloon pilot instructor is a guest speaker at our tent
Guests fly a simulator in a tent on the field
Joyce about ready for breakfast after predawn field adventures
The sound of the burners is so exciting and beautiful
Love the barbed wire design on the black balloon
A lion and a koala are ready for takeoff while others fill and raise their balloon “envelopes”
A gorgeous day on the field
Some of the designs tell stories
Filling the “envelope” requires a team of people
A guy takes a selfie
Collapsing the “envelope” as it’s deflated
Mounted oficers keep the peace
Sun and balloons are a good combination
Vehicles are everywhere, trucks and trailers setting up and leaving to “chase” their balloons. handicap scooters, golf carts, wagons and stollers.
Balloon envelope rests on a tarp as it is being inflated
Almost ready to stand
Burners light up the ground
Can you feel the heat?
Silhouette of a balloon deflating
Captain raises his hat as the flag goes up during opening ceremonies
Bruce looks for his next shot
Friends lined up
Patterns as art
Balloon imitates clouds
Balloon pilots at work
Up and away
No small feat
Posing for the camera
Champions going in for the flag drop
So much going on, besides weather, wind patterns and traffic, they have to keep their “chasers” informed
Seems like a chameleon
Balloons as far as you can see
Pastels fly together
In the clouds
Through the clouds
High in the clouds
Even the insides are works of art
Balloon Museum shaped appropriately
‘Albuquerque Box’ wind current display gets us involved at the Balloon Museum
Bruce retired from Intel so we we had to snap the Intel balloon
Silhouettes create a nice pattern
The balloons fly over the RV park. Our RV is facing the field so our visibility is great.
Away from the crowd
After the balloons passed over our RV – we are on the right. Note Darth Vader watching us.
Fluffy Clouds and balloons flying at many heights.
Against the sky
This pilot has no basket, just a chair and he LANDED it at the RV park with all those obstacles!
Sans basket, this pilot has only a chair and he’s landing next to the RVs. Our jeep & RV is at front left
Our site – rally style parking with electric and never a dull moment
Our neighbors got up high for their photos
Dancers at a cultural tour
This cute guy imitates dancers