House bill could force Balloon Fiesta to start an hour earlier | KOB 4

House bill could force Balloon Fiesta to start an hour earlier

KOB Web Staff
February 21, 2019 06:42 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A bill that would get rid of Daylight Savings Time in New Mexico could have major consequences for the state’s largest tourism event.


The organizers of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta tell KOB 4 that if HB 73 were to pass, they would have to start Mass Ascension events an hour earlier.

Currently, Mass Ascensions are held at 7:00 a.m. and traffic begins to pile up on the Duke City’s freeways as early as 4:30 a.m. That could change if Daylight Savings Time is no longer observed.

“The times of Balloon Fiesta sessions are based on sunrise and sunset rather than the time on the clock,” says Tom Garrity, a spokesperson for the Fiesta. “The air is more stable shortly after sunrise than it is around the middle of the day. So if sunrise is at 6:00 a.m. rather than 7:00 a.m., the morning flights would start at about 6:00 rather than about 7:00.”

In addition to the Mass Ascension events, the Balloon Fiesta also offers evening glows that begin at dusk. Garrity did not say if any evening events would be impacted, but they have traditionally been held at 6:00 p.m.

HB 73, which would remove New Mexico’s observance of Daylight Savings Time, passed the house in a narrow 35-32 vote on Wednesday. The bill would effectively put New Mexico on the same hour as California for eight months out of the year.

On Thursday, the Senate passed a different bill, 25-17, that would keep the state permanently on Daylight Savings Time. SB 226 would place New Mexico on the same hour as Dallas and Chicago four months during the winter.

Track HB 73 during the legislative session

Track SB 226 during the legislative session


KOB Web Staff

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