2023 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: Here’s what you should know

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The 51st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is happening October 7-15, 2023, with a full slate of events and around 550 balloons from around the world.

One of the highlights is the already-popular annular solar eclipse and balloon glow on the second Saturday. Around 72 balloons will be doing a static glow on the ground as the skies darken.

The Gordon Bennett Cup, which began in Paris in 1906 and is the world’s oldest gas balloon race, will launch on the first Saturday.

Many regard the Gordon Bennett Cup as the most prestigious balloon racing event in the world.

The Globitos and the drone show are back for this year. According to spokesperson Tom Garrity, the Globitos will try for a world record again as well.

Large crowds are expected so you will need to plan ahead, especially if you go on the first day.

Taking I-25 to Tramway – or I-25 to Alameda – are the best ways to get to the park. Gates open at 4:30 a.m. and arriving between then and 5 a.m. is the best time to avoid major traffic.

If you don’t want to drive, you can also purchase a ticket online to catch the Park and Ride. Park and Ride is available Friday through Sunday at four different locations:

  • Cottonwood Mall – Park in the NE parking lot near Seven Bar Loop and Coors Bypass
  • Coronado Center – Park at the SW corner near San Pedro Drive and Uptown Boulevard
  • Hoffmantown Church – Park in the NE parking lot only
  • Intel Rio Rancho (weekends only) – Park in the SE lot only

Park and Ride guarantees round-trip transportation to and from Balloon Fiesta Park, as well as event admission into the park.

There is also a bike valet available which, Garrity says, has doubled in size.

“You ride your bike up the North Diversion Channel. Make sure you have lights, dress in layers, and then you’ll actually turn into Balloon Fiesta Park. That service is free but you’ll have to pay to get into Balloon Fiesta Park,” Garrity explained.

When you enter the park, you will have to go through a metal detector. You can bring backpacks but officials will search through it. There are, however, certain things you can’t bring:

  • Weapons
  • Animals (except service animals)
  • Glass bottles, hard-sided coolers
  • Alcohol
  • Religious, political paraphernalia

You can bring soft-sided coolers, folding chairs, “even a little wagon to carry it all” as Garrity says, and food, but not for resale.

Tickets are $15 per session for people ages 12 and older. People under 12 are free. The tickets are weather-dependent and are non-refundable. Parking is also $20 per session.

To purchase your tickets and see full details on this year’s Balloon Fiesta, click here.

Follow our Balloon Fiesta coverage by clicking here.