Balloon Fiesta introduces $5K ‘sky boxes’

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s time to start talking about the Balloon Fiesta. The much anticipated 50th-anniversary event is just about one month away and this year there’s a new way to watch all the balloons hit the skies without dealing with the crowds – but it’s going to cost you.

“You know, Balloon Fiesta is always looking for ways to improve the guest experience at Balloon Fiesta Park,” said Tom Garrity, a Balloon Fiesta spokesperson.  

This year that includes brand-new sky boxes made out of old shipping containers, with a viewing platform on top, a seating area below, and a front row seat to some of the best Balloon Fiesta action.

“We’re really at the same part of, the end of the park where we have the special shapes of where Darth Vader and Yoda are traditionally, we also have the dawn patrol sets up just behind me,” said Garrity.  

They aren’t cheap though. It costs $5,000 to rent one for a morning or evening session, but that includes a lot of perks.

“It’s a turn-key operation, so you’re able to get a boxed meal for all of the guests, drinks, seven parking passes, you have your own lavatories, you have your own access, you have your own space,” Garrity said. 

Organizers say the sky boxes were designed for corporate customers, but they say anyone can rent one for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“What that customer experience provides is the chance to get above the crowds, you know really kind of get a unique perspective of what Balloon Fiesta looks like,” said Garrity. 

But before you try to reserve one, you should know the sky boxes are non-refundable – even if the balloons don’t fly.

Garrity says the only exception is when the field is completely closed. In that case, folks will get general admission tickets and parking passes for another session.

“The 50th event, it’s easy to get in a rut, but this year with the 50th, we’re actually out of a rut and we’re celebrating quite a bit,” he said. 

And those celebrations include a potentially record-breaking number of balloons.

Garrity says there are already 640 signed up, including balloons from 22 different countries.

The big event kicks off Saturday, Oct. 1.