Spectacular Albuquerque Balloon Festival in New Mexico, USA
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place each year in the city of Albuquerque, which is the one of the biggest and most important cities of New Mexico, USA. The event is celebrated in the early days of October and lasts for nine days, currently representing the largest hot air balloon festival in the world.
The origins of this yearly celebration date back to 1972, when a radio station named 770 KOB Radio was commemorating its 50th anniversary. For the upcoming festivities, radio station manager Dick McKee had a sit down with the owner of Cutter Flying Service, Sid Cutter, and asked him if he could borrow his new hot-air balloon as part of the celebration. After discussing the subject for a while, McKee found out that the largest gathering of hot air balloons had taken place in England and included 19 pieces at the time. In an effort to match those figures, Dick McKee and Sid Cutter actually managed to gather just 13 pilots for the fiesta, which started on April 8, 1972. The most important event of the festivities involved a “Roadrunner-Coyote Balloon Race”, which was won by Don Picard who flew in a balloon designed and created at his own company.
In 1973, the event took place again, this time in February, and became an international event. Two years later, the city of Albuquerque was about to host the World Championships in October, and so the date of the festival was moved to October as well, remaining as such to this day. Decades have passed since then and the festival continued to grow each year, which is why the organizers had to implement some sort of limitations, restricting the number of balloons to 600 in 2001.
The main events of the fiesta are named Dawn Patrol, Mass Ascensions, Artistic Vision, Balloon Glows and Special Shape Rodeo. Each of them highlights exquisite displays of color and grace, as the balloons soar up towards the heavens and then land safely at designated areas around the city. If you happen to be in New Mexico this October, you simply must go to Albuquerque and experience one of the most outstanding festivals in the world.