Albuquerque to celebrate New Year with balloon rise

Civic Plaza Ice Rink
Civic Plaza Ice Rink (Alex Goldsmith/KRQE)

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque has revealed new details about New Year’s celebrations, and it won’t involve a chile drop. In fact, it won’t involve a drop at all, but a rise instead.

A hot air balloon will usher in 2016 in Civic Plaza.

“I think it’s a beautiful piece of work we’ve been able to do,” said Zachary Peterson, fabrication manager with Yearout Mechanical. The company designed the hot air balloon.

“We definitely wanted to do something unique to Albuquerque, something that other cities didn’t have or something that was special to us,” he said. Gilbert Montano, chief of staff for the mayor, said, “It’s going to be a blast.”

The balloon will be colorful and illuminated, rising along the side of city hall.

“What the community was really asking about is what was going to be dropped on that last momentous ten seconds before the dawn of the New Year,” Montano said. “It’s going to be actually a rise.  It’s going to be a balloon rise,” he said.

Robert Gallegos, an Albuquerque resident, said, “It’s a tradition. Balloons go with New Mexico. Everybody witnesses the ball dropping in New York. It’d be nice.”

The festivities are free and begin at 8 p.m. on December 31. The evening will include face painting, the ice rink, six food trucks, inflatable bounce houses for the kids, a resolution wall, and the city will partner with Uber for rides.

A bar will be provided for those over the age of 21. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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