Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a world-renowned attraction and destination for kids of all ages. For more than four decades, the first week in October brings the smell of roasting chiles and the beautiful, magical moving picture show of hot air balloons sailing silently through the crisp fall air.

Guests from all over the world come to Albuquerque to celebrate ballooning. Literally hundreds of balloons will be taking flight from the Balloon Fiesta Park.

From its modest beginnings in 1972 with 13 balloons launching from a shopping mall parking lot, the Balloon Fiesta has grown to multiple events launching year-round at the custom-designed, 365-acre Balloon Fiesta Park. Our signature event remains Balloon Fiesta—which, with over 600 balloons, is the largest ballooning event on earth, the most photographed event on earth, and the largest annual international event held in the United States.

Imagine 54 football fields, all put together. That’s the size of Balloon Fiesta Park’s 78-acre launch field! And at this Park’s “playing field,” there are no losing teams and no viewing stands. Guests walk the field and are part of the action.

Hundreds of thousands of smiling, upturned faces, awestruck by the spectacular beauty of hot air balloons filling the big blue New Mexico sky. What you can’t hear until you walk our field at nightfall is the thrilling roar of hundreds of burners simultaneously igniting, turning the Park into a huge lighted Christmas tree of colorful balloons. What you can’t feel until you join us is the massive joy everywhere around you.

Balloon Fiesta Park is located north of Alameda Boulevard, one mile west of I-25.

Saturday, October 6

Morning Session Evening Session
6:00 Dawn Patrol Show presented by Route 66 Casino Hotel and RV Parkmore… 1:30 – 5:00 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational
6:30 Krispy Kreme Morning Glow

Laser Light Show

6:00 Twilight Twinkle Glow™ presented by Albuquerque Journal
6:45 Opening Ceremonies 7:45 Laser Light Show
7:00 Mass Ascension, presented by Canonmore… 8:00 AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by Sandia Resort & Casino
8:30 – 11:30 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational

Sunday, October 7

Morning Session Evening Session
6:00 Dawn Patrol Show presented by Route 66 Casino Hotel and RV Parkmore… 1:30 – 5:00 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational
6:30 Krispy Kreme Morning Glow

Laser Light Show

6:00 Balloon Glow
7:00 Mass Ascension, more… 7:45 Laser Light Show
8:30 – 11:30 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational 8:00 AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by Sandia Resort & Casino
9:00 Fiesta of Wheels Car Show, located on north end of Launch Field
11:00 Balloon Fiesta Pin Trading (Group Tour Tent north end of Main Street)

Monday, October 8
Propane day presented by Airgas, an Air Liquide Company

Morning Session Evening Session
6:00 Dawn Patrol, more… No events
6:30 Laser Light Show
7:00 Balloons Launch from Park
8:00 Competition Balloon Flying Begins
8:00 – 11:00 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Demonstrations

Tuesday, October 9
Coca-Cola Day

Morning Session Evening Session
6:00 Dawn Patrol, more… No events
6:30 Laser Light Show
7:00 Balloons Launch from Park
8:00 Competition Balloon Flying Begins
8:00 – 11:00 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Demonstrations

Wednesday, October 10

Morning Session Evening Session
6:00 Dawn Patrol Show presented by Route 66 Casino Hotel and RV Parkmore… No Events
6:30 Krispy Kreme Morning Glow

Laser Light Show

7:00 Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension
8:00 Competition Balloon Flying Begins
8:30 – 11:00 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Demonstrations

Thursday, October 11
Kids’ Day presented by KOB-TV

Morning Session Evening Session
6:00 Dawn Patrol, more… 1:30 – 5:00 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational
6:30 Laser Light Show 6:00 Special Shape Glowdeo™
7:00 Special Shape Rodeo™ presented by Wells Fargo Bank 7:45 Laser Light Show
8:00 Competition Balloon Flying begins 8:00 AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by Sandia Resort & Casino
8:30 – 11:30 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational

Friday, October 12

Morning Session Evening Session
6:00 Dawn Patrol, more… 1:30 – 5:00 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational
6:30 Laser Light Show 6:00 Special Shape Glowdeo™
7:00 Special Shape Rodeo™ 7:45 Laser Light Show
8:00 Competition Balloon Flying begins 8:00 AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by Sandia Resort & Casino
8:30 – 11:30 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational

Saturday, October 13

Morning Session Evening Session
6:00 Dawn Patrol Show presented by Route 66 Casino Hotel and RV Parkmore… 1:00 – 5:00 Music Fiesta
6:30 Krispy Kreme Morning Glow

Laser Light Show

1:30 – 5:00  AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational
7:00 Mass Ascension 6:00 Night Magic™ Glow presented by Canon
8:30 – 11:30 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational 7:45 Laser Light Show
11:00 Balloon Fiesta Pin Trading (Group Tour Tent north end of Main Street) 8:00 AfterGlow™Fireworks Show presented by Sandia Resort & Casino

Sunday October 14

Morning Session
6:00 Dawn Patrol Show presented by Route 66 Casino Hotel and RV Parkmore…
6:30 Krispy Kreme Morning Glow

Laser Light Show

7:00 Farewell Mass Ascension
8:30 – 11:00 AIBF Chainsaw Carving Q & A

*AfterGlow™ times may change due to field/weather conditions
** North end of Launch Field for the pin trading

Hello and Welcome! 
Autumn time in Albuquerque can be truly magical with the changing of the leaves and the smell of roasting green chile. We hope everyone is making time to get outside and enjoy the beauty of autumn! Give yourself a pat on the back for making it through a record hot summer.
What an amazing year 2016 has been! Thank you to everyone who has made it this incredible! We wouldn’t be here without the thousands of people that support us. We had a great summer and this fall is already off to a wonderful start!

Fiesta 2016: Balloons & Breakfast, Dine & Glow Dinner, and More! 

Fiesta 2016 is only a week away! We are over the moon excited for this year’s events at the Balloon Museum. We have our annual Balloons & Breakfast and Dine & Glow Dinner, the most comfortable way to enjoy the Fiesta, with a delicious catered meal and a fantastic view of the field.  We are selling out quickly, so book now!
For more information, please call us at 505.880.0500 or click HERE to book your tickets!

Find Joy and Fly Family Day!
Sunday, October 9, 2016
5:30 AM to 9:30 AM
Celebrate the final day of Balloon Fiesta with your family at the Balloon Museum! We have the best view of mass ascension around, so join us in our Sky Lounge for a farewell to the balloons. But don’t worry, after the mass ascension, the fun isn’t over!

Enjoy the exhibitions we currently have at the Balloon Museum, including our new Tim Anderson 4D Theater! There will also be activities for the whole family, and goodie bags for the kiddos! Tickets are $5 per person, infants under one get in free. There are a limited number of tickets, so hurry and buy them now HERE! Note that a $10 parking pass is required. We’ll see you there!

A special thank you to the following additions to our Foundation team!
Thanks to Alissa Ranf, our wonderful Intern from UNM. Alissa has enthusiastically joined our staff this Fall semester supporting us with her Social Media & Communication skills. And she has word-crafted most of this newsletter! Great job Alissa…and thanks for being such a valuable part of our Foundation team.
Thanks to Vince Le, our Fiesta Event Coordinator, who has come on board temporarily to assist us with all of our extra needs during this busy time! His artistic and graphic skills along with his great people skills make for an invaluable addition to our team! Thanks, Vince, for taking time out of your busy schedule to help us out!
Thanks to Allen Winston, our favorite Photographer who helps us out at ALL our events and activities here at the Balloon Museum. Allen, you are a blessing to all of us with your amazing photographic masterpieces, along with your fabulous adaptability and people skills, always ready to help in any and every way imaginable.
Thanks to our temporary Museum Shoppe Staff who are so helpful in taking care of our onslaught of visitors and purchasers in the Museum Shoppe. Whether it’s your first year or 10th year to help out during this busy season…we appreciate you!
And finally…a SPECIAL THANKS to ALL OUR VOLUNTEERS for donating your time, your service and your SMILES to the Balloon Museum! Our Volunteers are the Life Blood of our service to all our guests! We certainly love and appreciate our amazing Volunteers.

Introducing Scott Appelman
Scott Appelman is the President of the Board of Directors for the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum Foundation. He is also the founder and current president of Rainbow Ryders, known as the “premier hot air balloon ride company in the Southwest.” In fact, they are one of the largest hot air balloon companies in the United States!
Scott learned the keys to success at the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. In 1983 he decided to turn his hobby of Ballooning into a career. He obtained his Commercial Pilot’s License, Lighter than Air rating in 1984. Before he founded his company, Scott traveled the country competing in balloon races. With such a passion for ballooning, it seemed the next step forward had to be starting his own company.
Rainbow Ryders offers rides, promotions and instructions in hot air ballooning. As Scott says, “I get the opportunity to fulfill people’s dreams.” Hot air ballooning is such a unique and special experience, and Scott gets to provide that to the public everyday.
If you decide to take a balloon ride, go with Rainbow Ryders, and make sure to say hello to Scott!

MORE EVENTS COMING SOON   
3rd Annual Balloon Museum Holiday Arts, Crafts, and Book Fair
Get your Holiday shopping done early this year by stopping by the Balloon Museum on November 13th! If you are a New Mexico local artist, crafter, or author and are interested in being a vendor, there are still spots left! Click HERE to register.
There will be free admission to the Balloon Museum all day as well. With a wide variety
of arts, crafts, and books, there is sure to be a gift for everyone. All items are locally made and New Mexico based.
After you’ve done a bit of shopping, make sure to look around and enjoy all of our wonderful exhibits.
Manhattan on the Mesa
Celebrate New Year’s Eve the Manhattan way on New York time. Dancing, delicious food, a spectacular balloon glow, and the ball drop in New York are all you need to know about this event!
A live band and a New York Style Dinner catered by the Cooperage set the stage for the Time’s Square celebration on New York time. To top off the evening, a grand prize of two Hot Air Balloon Rides with Rainbow Ryders Balloon Company will be given to the best dressed party-goer. After the ball has dropped, stick around for more dancing, or beat the traffic going home, OR, head out to your second party to bring in the New Year on New Mexico time. Call us at 505.880.0500 or click HERE to reserve your spot!
Stories in the Sky
Don’t forget about our award winning story time! We offer two sessions every Wednesday at 9:30 AM and 11 AM! Stories in the Sky is fun for all kids in the family. We have fun art projects, educational stories, and the best part is that it’s free!

Special Ways to Donate
A beautiful way to remember a friend or family member is a Donation to the Balloon Museum. These tax deductible charitable contributions can be directed to a specific support area at the Balloon Museum by the Donor.
IN MEMORY
In loving memory of Howard Gerwin, generous donations made by Ann & Kaz Oishi and Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Gerwin. Howard was a loving husband of Dawn, Father of Greg and Spencer, and a dedicated Balloon Museum Volunteer. Donations are still being accepted in Howard Gerwin’s name at the Balloon Museum. “Those we love can never be more than a thought away… for as long as there’s a memory, they live in our hearts to stay” – Author Unknown
IN HONOR
John Cashion
Dr. Loren Potter
Kay Souder
Blain Sant
Thank you!
If you would like to make a donation to the Balloon Museum, IN HONOR or IN MEMORY of a special family member or friend, please contact the Balloon Museum Foundation at 505-880-0500. We will be happy to help direct your generous donation to the specific area you designate. These donations are 100% tax deductible.
DID YOU KNOW?
In addition to cash donations, we have a unique way to recognize friends and family members. The Balloon Museum FOREVER WALL with customized tiles is a great way to honor or remember someone. Each custom created and personalized tile is placed permanently on the Forever Wall at the entrance to the Balloon Museum, visible for everyone to see. Contact us anytime for more details about the Forever Wall tile program.
Other Unique Ways to Donate to the Balloon Museum:
We are now a member of the Amazon Smile

Program! The Amazon Smile Program is a simple way to support the Balloon Museum at no cost to you. When shopping with smile.amazon.com, you can find the same exact products, however, Amazon donates a portion of your purchase to the organization of your choice! Learn more HERE!
We are also part of the Smiths Community Rewards program! You can support the Balloon Museum anytime you

grocery shop! Whenever you use your Smith’s rewards card, you can make a donation to the Museum. Click HERE for more information!

We would also like to remind you that by attending our events you are supporting the Balloon Museum! Your participation helps raise funds for future events and exhibitions at the Balloon Museum.

Are you a member? 
 
If yes, we thank you! We greatly appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the Museum or at our fun events!
Not a member? Well, there is no better time than right now to become one! Your membership will entitle you to free admission year round, discounts at the Museum Shoppe, and other awesome perks! Membership levels start at $20.
Membership information is available HERE or call us at 505.880.0500 for more details!

What a Summer!
Red, White and Balloons
We had a fantastic time this 4th of July with our Red, White & Balloons event! Over 1200 guests attended to watch the fireworks show and performance by the Albuquerque Concert Band. The Balloon Museum is the perfect, exclusive viewing area for the fireworks away from the

crowds! In addition to the great music and the fireworks show, we hosted a delicious dinner upstairs at our VIP Stars n Stripes Reserved Ticket Dinner. Many families also enjoyed an open picnic on the Balloon Museum lawn and free and fun lawn activities. Keep Red, White & Balloons in mind for next year’s Independence Day! Red White & Balloons at the Balloon Museum is a great way to have a comfortable, fun, and of course, patriotic evening!

Chic-I-Boom Ball
This summer we also got to party the Carmen Miranda Brazilian way! This was our annual benefit gala for the Education programs at the Balloon Museum. It sure was a hit! The museum transformed into a Calypso Marketplace, with Sol Calypso steel drums, tropical drinks, and delicious food. We also had a successful silent live auction with fantastic items! Stay tuned for next year’s fundraiser, as it will definitely be a spectacular event!
CONGRATULATIONS TO:
Bill Taylor on winning the Hawaiian
Vacation Raffle! Bring us back a lei and a pineapple please!
Joe Turiciano on winning the Disney Vacation Raffle! Make sure to take a picture of Mickey Mouse for us!
Stories in the Night Sky

We had a wonderful time hosting this summer’s Stories in the Night Sky! Families enjoyed free admission, the exciting stories, and the live band. Make sure to join us next summer!

New Exhibitions at the Museum
Tim Anderson 4-D Theater
The Tim Anderson 4-D Theater is opening to the public on October 1st!  “Aerobatic Challenge,” an award winning

animated movie about flight experience, will be showing in 4-D.
This screening will be sure to excite the whole family. So grab your 3-D glasses, buckle up, and hold onto your vibrating seat!
 
Arctic Air: The Bold Flight of S.A. Andrée 
If you’ve never heard the story of S.A. Andrée’s attempt at flying to the North Pole, you must stop by to experience this exhibit. Coming to the Balloon Museum on September 30th, Arctic Air tells the suspenseful story of the first-ever attempt to reach the North Pole by balloon. In 1897 S.A. Andrée and his crew used the most innovative technology of the time and made a fateful attempt on a perilous journey! Come check it out!
Hall of Fame
We are pleased to announce the 2016 inductees to the International Ballooning Commission Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees include Albuquerque’s own Troy Bradley and Isaburo Yamada of Japan! Visit the Hall of Fame at the Balloon Museum, where you can learn about those who have made remarkable and notable contributions. The 2016 induction will take place on September 30th!
The Box Interactive Preview
Opening October 1st, this unique and fun exhibit allows you to create your own balloon and launch it into the famous Albuquerque Box! You can be one of the first people to launch their own balloon into the Box!

Mark Your Calendars!
Upcoming Balloon Museum Events
  • Tim Anderson 4D Theater – Opening October 1st
  • Darth and Yoda Awaken – September 30 – Free!
  • Balloons & Breakfast – October 1,2,5,6,7,8 – TiCKETS 
  • Dine & Glow – October 1,2,6,7,8 – RSVP
  • Find Joy and Fly Family Day – October 9 – TICKETS
  • Buddy Bombard’s Ballooning Adventure Tribute – October 4 – TICKETS
  • BOO!-lloon Mania – October 28
  • 3rd Annual Balloon Museum Holiday Arts, Crafts, and Book Fair – November 13
  • Manhattan on the Mesa – December 31 – BOOK NOW
Check the website www.balloonmuseum.com for updates and details as the events get closer!
Words from Jill Lane 
Executive Director, A.A.I.B.M.F.
 
As this year’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta rolls around, here at the Balloon Museum we will be rolling out the red carpet for our visitors from near and far! This is always a magical time of year to experience the awe and excitement so apparent on the faces of our museum visitors. From toddlers watching balloons float over the Balloon Museum to adults becoming kids again with all the colors and the excitement of the season, we ALL get caught up in the spirit of ballooning and what a unique place we call home in Albuquerque.
Here at the museum, we are SO excited about all the NEW and FUN and EDUCATIONAL and INNOVATIVE exhibits and activities added to our traditional line-up of things to see and do at the Balloon Museum. We’ve tried to tempt you with some brief overviews in this issue, but in reality, the best way to experience them is to come out to the museum yourself! And remember, our Balloon Museum members get special discounts on our Dine & Glow and Balloons & Breakfast events too!
Do you have friends or family visiting during Fiesta? If so, then bring them along for the BEST VIEW OF THE BALLOONING ACTION from right here at the Balloon Museum. We are so proud to have you share our unique and iconic museum with everyone. You are sure to be deemed the BEST HOST EVER as you help showcase all we have to offer.
And while here at the Balloon Museum…either during Fiesta or afterward…it’s not too late to start your Holiday Shopping. As a Balloon Museum member, you ALWAYS get a 10% discount in the Museum Shoppe! Our gift shop has everything ballooning imaginable…and more! There is sure to be something for everyone on your list! Your purchases support our fabulous Balloon Museum.
Thank you again for being part of our Balloon Museum family. We love sharing our special world with you!
Sincerely,
Jill D. Lane 
 
Jill D. Lane
Executive Director
Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum Foundation
9201 Balloon Museum Dr. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113
505.880.0500 Office

morning Fiesta

Special shape balloons launch from Balloon Fiesta Park Thursday morning. (Donn Friedman/Journal)

A Spanish team took first place in the gas balloon race traveling 1,188 miles and remaining airborne for 53 hours and 27 minutes eventually landing west of Findlay, Ky. according to unofficial results from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Thursday morning.

The winning team was Anulfo Gonzalez and Angel Aguirre from Spain.

Second place went to Krzysztof Zapart and Mateusz Rekas from Poland. They flew 941 miles and were in the air for 46 hours 23 minutes. They landed near Perryville, Mo.

Third place went to Peter Cuneo and Barbara Fricke from U.S. They felew 825 miles and were in the air 40 hours and 17 minutes. They landed west of Searcy, Ak.

Fourth place went to Dr. Heinz-Otto Lausch and Dr. Marion Lausch from Germany. They traveled 679 miles and were in the air for 45 hours and 14 minutes. They landed east of Lincoln, Neb.

In other Fiesta news, Roger MacKecchnie from Tucson was named Pilot of the Day for landing his balloon, Silver Spring, on the grounds of Explore Academy, 3831 Midway Place NE, and staying extra long and giving tethered rides to students and teacher.

A Fiesta spokesman said that when the balloon landed, students and staff rushed out to aid the landing.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

“…For more than three decades, guests from all over the world come to Albuquerque to celebrate ballooning at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. ”

For more than three decades, guests from all over the world come to Albuquerque to celebrate ballooning at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This year’s event, October 5-13, 2013, marks its 41st anniversary.

The New Mexico skies are painted as hundreds of balloons lift off from Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park. Nothing rivals the power of Mass Ascension on crisp early mornings as these graceful giants leave the ground to take their place in the cerulean desert sky. For ballooning fans worldwide, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a pilgrimage. There’s something for everyone to enjoy . . . whimsical special shapes filled with equal parts of hot air and wonder, and Balloon Glows that create a magical night landscape for spectators to wander. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will leave you awestruck and wanting more.

From its modest beginnings in 1972 with 13 balloons launching from a shopping mall parking lot, the Balloon Fiesta has grown to multiple events launching year-round at the custom-designed, 365-acre Balloon Fiesta Park. The signature event remains Balloon Fiesta—which, with over 600 balloons, is the largest ballooning event on earth, the most photographed event on earth, and the largest annual international event held in the United States.

Balloon Fiesta Park is located north of Alameda Boulevard, one mile west of I-25.

The 2013 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta started on a great note with virtually no wind, measuring ZERO on my own weather station. Was a delight to see all of the balloons in the sky as this was my first Balloon Fiesta since moving here a year ago right after the Fiesta.

Release

12/17/2012Albuquerque named to top lists for travel for 2013
Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau

CONTACT(s):
Megan Mayo Ryan, Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau
office (505) 222-4349; cell (505) 321-7367, mayo@itsatrip.org

Albuquerque named to top lists for travel for 2013

Albuquerque, NM – The experts at Fodor’s Travel announced today that Albuquerque has been named among the Top 25 Places to Go in 2013. Fodor’s editors have chosen Albuquerque as a hot travel destination because of our excellent value for visitors, calling the city an affordable getaway for nature lovers and families. Albuquerque’s visibility on the AMC show “Breaking Bad” has also helped elevate the destination’s profile for travelers.

“The places on our Go List are our ‘must-dos’ for the coming year. Travelers should add these far flung and domestic destinations to their 2013 itinerary,” said Arabella Bowen, Executive Editorial Director at Fodor’s Travel. The cities were selected by Fodor’s senior editorial team who began with an initial list of 75 global travel spots, narrowing them down to the final 25 locales on the Go List after heated internal debate.

The story highlights a slower pace of life and calls out the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the ABQ BioPark and Gruet Winery as highlights. Two local lodging boutique properties were called out by the editor – Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm and the Hotel Andaluz – and appropriate for this time of year, Fodor’s mentions the Luminaria Tour at the holidays as a special time to visit Albuquerque. The complete story is available here: http://www.fodors.com/go-list/2013/.

Albuquerque has also been highlighted as one of 20 Awesome Winter Foodie Destinations by Zagat.com again focusing on Los Poblanos. The story, which is available here: http://blog.zagat.com/2012/12/20-awesome-winter-foodie-destinations.html, says “If you haven’t experienced the great Southwest, now is the time and Albuquerque the place to start.”

Just west of Albuquerque, the Acoma Pueblo was also named one of “12 most extreme places in America worth visiting” by BudgetTravel.com and showcased on FoxNews.com. The list is a compilation of longest, coldest, hottest, biggest and oldest. That’s where Acoma “Sky City” Pueblo comes in; it is said to be one of the oldest sites in North America.

For more Albuquerque rankings, visit http://www.itsatrip.org/albuquerque/whats-new/top-ranking.aspx.

We would like to welcome you to the Ballooning Capital of the World web site.  The Ballooning Capital is located in the greater Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA area including area communities like Rio Rancho.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta  is the world’s largest hot air balloon festival and takes place each October.  During the balloon festival you will see literally hundreds of balloons.  The event is considered to be the most photographed event in the world.  Guests of the event are allowed to mingle amongst the balloons and possibly even to help the crews.

There are more resident hot air balloonists in the local area than anywhere else in the world.  The ideal conditions and the growth of the sport have attracted many people to the Albuquerque area.  Hardly a day goes by without a balloon launch, weather permitting.

Albuquerque has a unique climatological feature called the “box”.  The Sandia Mountain to the east blocks the sun from heating the ground, and as a result, the air near the ground is cooler and flows to the south, and 600-700 feet up, the warmer air flows to the north, allowing the balloon pilot to launch and land in nearly the same spot, if not in fact, the same spot.

Another great activity is called balloon glow.  This is the glow from the balloon when the hot propane-powered flames light up the balloon, and because of the balloon’s size, can be seen from a long distance.  Several times during the year there are actual balloon glow events during which the balloons are on display, but aren’t launched.

This web site has been created to tell the world about what is going on here and we welcome your comments and pictures.   Our host is a photographer so there will be many unique photos not found elsewhere plus photos contributed by other photographers.

Thanks for stopping by and we hope to see you back again!

By Margaret Loftus, Special to CNN

Ever since the Montgolfier brothers launched the first manned hot air balloon flight in France in 1783, enterprising balloonists have capitalized on our fascination with open-air flight by offering rides that soar over some of the world’s most stunning landscapes.

Just watching the graceful globes aloft is mesmerizing, especially when they’re en masse. Here’s where to catch them or hitch a ride.

Albuquerque International Balloon Festival - Seeing one hot air balloon flirt with the stratosphere is impressive enough, but the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival in New Mexico revels in its series of mass ascensions.
Albuquerque International Balloon Festival – Seeing one hot air balloon flirt with the stratosphere is impressive enough, but the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival in New Mexico revels in its series of mass ascensions.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (October 6-14): What started in 1972 as a local radio station promotion to round up the most hot air balloons in one place has become the world’s largest ballooning gathering and, boast organizers, the most photographed event anywhere. Fueled by Albuquerque’s crisp fall climate and predictable air currents that allow balloonists to control their flights, the Balloon Fiesta attracts some 700 balloons from more than 50 countries.

The weeklong festivities include fireworks and concerts and showcase all manner of dazzling displays, from a special shape rodeo to lighted nighttime “balloon glows,” but the climax is the handful of spectacular mass ascensions in which all participants take to the sky in two waves.

Albuquerque International Balloon Festival - Naturally, the huge gathering attracts a diversity of balloons. This year, the festival fleet will include a snowman, a fire engine, and even Darth Vader (or at least his head).
Albuquerque International Balloon Festival – Naturally, the huge gathering attracts a diversity of balloons. This year, the festival fleet will include a snowman, a fire engine, and even Darth Vader (or at least his head).
Adirondack Balloon Festival - Celebrating 40 years of festivity, the lineup at this year's Adirondack Balloon Festival in Glen Falls, New York, includes a balloon shaped like a birthday cake.
Adirondack Balloon Festival – Celebrating 40 years of festivity, the lineup at this year’s Adirondack Balloon Festival in Glen Falls, New York, includes a balloon shaped like a birthday cake.

Glen Falls, New York

Adirondack Balloon Festival (September 20-23): This is the 40th anniversary of the Adirondack Balloon Festival, the oldest and largest balloon gathering on the East Coast. Some 100 balloonists, including a slew who man special-shaped airships like dragons and bald eagles, converge on the region’s parks and airports to launch against a backdrop of mountains awash in fall foliage. Spectators can arrange flights privately with pilots.

“It’s so beautiful seeing the meandering Hudson River, the Adirondacks to the north, the Green Mountains in Vermont and the Catskills to the south,” says pilot Greg Livadas, a Rochester, New York pilot who has been flying in the festival for more than 30 years. The free event keeps the fun going in the afternoons with live music, aircraft displays, kite flying and meet-and-greets with pilots.

Serengeti Balloon Safari - Aspiring balloonists can peek over the side of the basket for chances to see wildlife from far enough away to land unscathed. Survival is celebrated with a traditional champagne toast.
Serengeti Balloon Safari – Aspiring balloonists can peek over the side of the basket for chances to see wildlife from far enough away to land unscathed. Survival is celebrated with a traditional champagne toast.
International BalloonFestival in Quebec - The balloons at the International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec come in many shapes
International BalloonFestival in Quebec – The balloons at the International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec come in many shapes


Quebec, Canada

International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (August 11-19): Every August, more than 125 balloonists descend on Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, midway between Montreal and Vermont, for the largest hot-air festival in Canada.

Mass balloon launches at dawn and dusk bookend nine days filled with live music performances that range from Canadian folk group Cowboys Fringants to rapper T Pain, and family activities, including Balloon Planet, an inflatable amusement park. Come dark, dozens of tethered balloons are illuminated for “night suns,” a multimedia event with music and projections. Reserve your own flight starting at $170.

Napa Valley Balloons in California - Tea? Juice? Pastry? Champagne? Napa Valley Balloons does California wine country justice by adding limo wine tours, winery explorations and fine dining to its ballooning packages.
Napa Valley Balloons in California – Tea? Juice? Pastry? Champagne? Napa Valley Balloons does California wine country justice by adding limo wine tours, winery explorations and fine dining to its ballooning packages.

Napa Valley, California

With a patchwork of vines stretching for miles across gently rolling countryside, Napa Valley’s signature landscape is even more breathtaking by air. By late summer, the fog dissipates and you might even spy San Francisco and the bay in the distance. Napa Valley Balloons has been offering sunrise, hourlong flights from Yountville for some 30 years. Passengers enjoy a champagne brunch at the winery after touching down at Domaine Chandon.

Serengeti Balloon Safari in Tanzania - After bumping along the plains of the Serengeti at dawn, passengers take flight in balloons, where they can exercise their wildlife photography skills.
Serengeti Balloon Safari in Tanzania – After bumping along the plains of the Serengeti at dawn, passengers take flight in balloons, where they can exercise their wildlife photography skills.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

A bird’s eye view of unsuspecting wildlife takes safaris to new heights. Serengeti Balloon Safaris offers year-round flights over the Seronera Valley in the vast Serengeti National Park, home to zebra, giraffes, hippos, lions and leopards. The company also offers seasonal flights in other areas of the park during the annual wildebeest migration. Equipped with “stealth” burners, the balloons quietly float above the acacia treetops, launching at dawn when winds are favorable and game are most active.

France Montgolfières - France Montgolfières serves more than 7,000 patrons a year, and offers training and licensing to those who get hooked.
France Montgolfières – France Montgolfières serves more than 7,000 patrons a year, and offers training and licensing to those who get hooked.


Luberon, France

From the vineyards of Champagne to the peaks of the Pyrenees, France’s diverse topography packs plenty of potential for ballooning. Named for the pastime’s French inventors, the more than 25-year-old France Montgolfieres company offers launches from nine sites throughout the country.

The newest base, Forcalquier in Haute Provence, has fast become one of the most popular. Nestled between the Alps and the Mediterranean, it’s the perfect jumping off point to float over the medieval hilltop villages and lavender country of Provence. Upon landing you’ll celebrate with a traditional toast de l’aeronaute.

France Montgolfières - With nine take-off sites, France Montgolfières offers a diversity of ballooning experiences, flying over cities, villages, castles, and countryside.
France Montgolfières – With nine take-off sites, France Montgolfières offers a diversity of ballooning experiences, flying over cities, villages, castles, and countryside.
Royal Balloon - Those passengers who ford the rock formations by balloon may get the chance to see churches carved into cliffs up close.
Royal Balloon – Those passengers who ford the rock formations by balloon may get the chance to see churches carved into cliffs up close.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Book a private balloon flight in Cappadocia, Turkey, and you’ll get to see lava deposits at Turkey’s Mount Erciyes twisted by two millennia of erosion into hundreds of pillars and minarets known as fairy chimneys, making the landscape in the country’s central Anatolian region look like a set from Lost in Space. Soak up the spires in all their glory, as well as hand-hewn churches and homes carved from the limestone, from 1,000 feet on a 90-minute balloon flight from Royal Balloon.

Royal Balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey - After feastin on an open buffet, the patrons of the Royal Balloon ascend 1,000 feet into the air and travel through the region's otherworldly rock formations..
Royal Balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey – After feastin on an open buffet, the patrons of the Royal Balloon ascend 1,000 feet into the air and travel through the region’s otherworldly rock formations.