Photo by Chemistruck Photography
There is arguably no other New Mexico event better known than the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The yearly hot air balloon festival takes place in early October and has more than 600 balloons that take to the air over the course of the nine-day event. It is so popular that it’s considered the most photographed event in the world—and if you take one look at all those beautifully colored and shaped balloons, you can see why people bring the cameras.
The balloon fiesta wasn’t always so popular. Like many events, it was small in its early years. In 1972, there were 13 balloons. Today, it is the largest balloon event in the world, attracts more than 1 million visitors, and adds more than $175 million into New Mexico’s economy.
Photo by Patrick Bodin
In addition to the daily balloon flights, the festival offers food vendors and entertainment, and special events, such as laser light shows, nightglows, firework extravaganzas, and music.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an absolute must for anyone interested in visiting New Mexico. In a way, the fiesta is a celebration of the state. It’s hard to paint a picture of New Mexico and not add those colorful balloons against the backdrop of the Sandia Mountains on the eastern edge of the city.