2017 Balloon Fiesta: Countdown to Lift Off

We are counting down the days to the 2017 Balloon Fiesta with the first mass ascension on Saturday October 7. This year’s theme, ‘Inflate Your Imagination’.


Competitions are a big part of balloon fiesta, like the key grab. The Key Grab, a.k.a. Ring Toss, is definitely one of the most difficult competitions. Balloons launch from at least one mile away and fly to the field, once there, pilots must navigate to one of five tall poles. Each ring is worth a fabulous prize if the pilot can place it over one of the poles. The Ring Tosses occur during morning flying events.

Pilots also play Texas Hold’em by dropping baggies from balloons on playing cards on the field. The best poker hand wins.

Balloon Glow

The Balloon Glow and Night Magic Glow™ are both static displays of balloons after sunset. Just before dusk, balloons are inflated and tethered, the Balloonmeister then orders ignition and the burners fill the balloons and the sky with a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors. Guests can walk amongst the balloons and take in the brilliance. The magnificent tradition, started in 1979, comes to a close with a spectacular laser show and fireworks show.

There is also the Glowdeo.  A Glowdeo is a static display of the special shape balloons.

The Albuquerque Box

The ―box‖ is a combination of upper and lower level winds created by the Rio Grande Valley and enhanced by the Sandia Mountains. The box enables balloonists to back-track their flight pattern and land close to their launch sites conjuring the impression of flying inside a box. Cool air from the north near the surface will take pilots one direction while higher winds blow in the opposite direction. Pilots need only to change elevation to fly back along their original course.


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