International Balloon Fiesta New Mexico

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North America, United States

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  • The International Balloon Fiesta (IBF) in Albuquerque, New Mexico started in 1972 with a small gathering of only 13 balloons. Over the years it has grown massively and is now the undisputed largest balloon event in the world.

    Taking place over nine days at the beginning of October every year the IBF really is a feast for the eyes and is said to be one of the most, if not the most, photographed events on the planet.

    Highlights of this event include the mass ascensions which occur on all of the weekend mornings during the festival as well as on one day during the week. The mass ascensions involve hundreds of balloons from all over the world rising to the sky at the same time; a truly breathtaking sight.

    Another highlight are the various Glow events which typically occur during the evening when the balloons, inflated by propane burners, light up and flicker magically against the dark night sky. Balloon “Glowdoes” are a magical evening when balloons of a variety of shapes such as dinosaurs and flowers seem to come to life! These balloons also have their own mass ascensions known as “special shape rodeos” when they are all launched together.

    The IBF is the most important event of the year for balloon pilots who are able to compete in a number of precision flying events. Those who are able can even get involved in gas ballooning which is more challenging than hot air ballooning as the balloons can fly higher and further which can result in the pilots being exposed to adverse weather conditions. The IBF has hosted the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race since 1995 which is a competition based simply on who can travel the greatest distance in a gas balloon.

    The International Balloon Fiesta really is a one of a kind event and one which visitors will never forget. With almost 750,000 people attending every year it is vital to get booked up early so that you don’t miss out on all of the fun!



    Photo by littlemoresunshine License CC BY 2.0

    Photo by Christopher Holden License CC BY 2.0

    Photo by David Herrera License CC BY 2.0


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General Information
Type of Activity: Festivals & Parties
Activity: Cultural
Area: North America
Country: United States
Your comments will be published once they have been checked by our team

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