The annual White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational always takes place on a weekend in September.
The Hot Air Balloon Invitational grows more and more popular each year.
The location is surreal in itself and when you add scores of colorful flying balloons, you have the White Sands Balloon Invitational at White Sands National Monument and the Alamogordo Balloon Park. There’s also a balloon glow held each night at Alamogordo High School.
The event begins right at sunrise and lasts until the balloons come down, usually 3 hours. There is a Balloon Glow at our local High School, Alamogordo High School, that takes place 30 minutes after sundown, usually 7:30 pm. Admission for the Balloon Glow is FREE.
The morning lift-offs you can reach best by going to White Sands National Monument. You have to take your own vehicle. White Sands Blvd., in Alamogordo, head South and follow the road when it turns to Hwy 70. This will lead you to White Sands National Monument.
Admittance to the balloon glow is free, while the only charge to attend the event at White Sands National Monument is the normal admittance fee ($3 per person ages 17 and older).
This popular event coincides with the Tularosa Basin Wine and Music Fest, in Alameda Park in Alamogordo, with live music, New Mexico wine samples, artists and vendors, as well as food and fun. Visit http://www.tularosabasinwinefest.com/
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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Sunday’s Balloon Fiesta mass ascension didn’t go quite as planned as windy weather meant no mass ascension, and some pilots even struggled to put their balloons on display on the ground. After a couple hours at the field, some people wondered if anything would happen at all.
“We have been waiting and waiting for so long,” said 5-year-old Rosa Marsh-Martinez.
Fiesta fans like Marsh-Martinez were left biding their time while weather delayed all the action.
“I am waiting for the balloons to go up,” she said.
The theme at balloon fiesta this year is “Spirit of the Winds,” and the winds were a little too spirited for the pilots Sunday. Event organizers ended up canceling the ascension due to safety concerns, but said pilots could blow up their balloons and keep them on the ground.
“It is unfortunate we are not going to be able to fly right now,” said Jack Ponticelli, pilot of the Carolina Kaleidoscope balloon.
Even by the time the sun came up, no balloons dotted the skies, and that’s when pilots started prepping to show them off from the ground though.
That was good news for long-time Fiesta visitors like 5-year-old Mikka Curtis, who has been going since she was six-weeks old. There is one balloon she looks forward to each year.
“Spider pig! Spider pig!” she sang while showing off her Spider-Man hat.
Curtis’ mom volunteers as a launch director, making sure everyone stays safe while balloons get ready to go up.
“It is something that has been in the family. My stepfather is actually a launch director as well. My sister was,” Kat Brennan said. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my October.”
Even on a day like Sunday where things didn’t go quite as planned, families made the most of it.
The windy weather also caused a small delay at the evening glow, but the balloons did inflate for a beautiful show. Hundreds of the balloons were able to light up the Balloon Fiesta Park.
Some say it was not as crowded as they expected, and it was likely because of the wind. Those who did make it said they were thrilled to have gotten that chance to experience the glow up close and personal.
Approximately 550 pilots are taking part in this year’s Balloon Fiesta, which runs until Oct. 12. The event draws tens of thousands of spectators from around the world. Organizers say the atmosphere is unlike any other with few boundaries for attendees.
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December 21, 2012
Commemorative Balloon Glow in memory of the Newton, Connecticut Elementary School Shooting
4 – 7 p.m. (arrivals beginning 3 p.m.)
Minimum of 26 balloons; one for each of the victims
Using North Gate entrance
Event Contact: Slade Bogle (505) 261-9605
Call Susan Rice, (505) 768-6050 for more information about events at Balloon Fiesta Park.
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!