Balloon Fiesta sets Guinness World Record

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta set a new Guinness World Record for the "Greatest mass hot air balloon ascent."

“Following our launch of 1,019 hot air balloons in 2000, the event’s leadership agreed that Albuquerque really should be the home for this kind of world record, so we started the process of learning how to document the launches,” said Paul Smith, the executive director of the Balloon Fiesta. "The process to set the new record was quite laborious and we set it in 2010 with 329 hot air balloons, and then again in 2011 with 345 hot air balloons. Then an event that occurs every other year in France set the record with more than 400 balloons. We had decided to focus our efforts on our processes and making Balloon Fiesta the best balloon event in the world and we didn’t pursue the record."

Tom Garrity, Balloon Fiesta spokesperson, said he reached out to the editor of the Guinness World Record last year to see if the record could be broken based solely on the event’s documentation.

The record-setting date was Oct. 6, 2019 with 524 balloons launched during a regular morning mass ascension. The launches were confirmed in two ways:

  1. Launch directors, assigned to specific quadrants on Balloon Fiesta Park, collect a launch slip from each pilot just before takeoff
  2. The launch numbers are verified by PCWise, a Balloon Fiesta contractor, who oversees refueling of hot air balloon propane tanks following the flight

The Balloon Fiesta is set to kickoff on Oct. 2 for nine days.