Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

group2be By group2be, 25th Sep 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>North America>United States>New Mexico

In 1989 The Special Shapes Rodeo joined the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It quickly became one of the most popular arenas of its nine day event. The Rodeo takes place this year on October 2nd and is a spectacular event that should not be missed.

Types of Balloons.

There are two varieties of shape balloons. The first type embellishes the basic inverted teardrop design. The second type does away with the teardrop altogether and takes some serious engineering. Some of these are rather simple and others are quite complicated with multiple air chambers.

Propane is used in conjunction with a burner which works by heating the funneled into the balloons. Gas balloons depend on helium or hydrogen to lift them. These fly much higher and for longer periods than hot air balloons do.

How It All Started.

The event was somewhat of a numbers game at its outset. In 1972, the radio station, KOB along with a few charter members of the local club set out to at least match the biggest race of balloons to date. Nineteen balloons would have to enter the competition to pull this off. They were only able to gather thirteen balloons to compete but the race was called its own that first year. It was not too long after this that gas balloonists threw in their lot with the competition.

What is the Albuquerque Box?

The winner of the race is the team who can traverse the greatest distance. Teams can end up as far away as Canada with races lasting several days.

There is a lot of talk among the enthusiasts about the "Albuquerque Box" which is a wind pattern created by the Rio Grande River. Cool air from the north blows in one direction when the box is functioning correctly. At the same time higher winds blow in the opposite direction. This gives balloon pilots the ability to begin at one course and then in mid-flight boomerang back to the location where they started tracing the pattern of a box in the air.

Pilots can maneuver with precision when the conditions are ideal so they are able to pluck an envelope suspended on a twenty foot pole with bare hands during the "Grab a Key" competition.

Event Information.

Cool early morning hours are the best conditions for ballooning. When the Rodeo first began, lift off took place in the afternoon hours. Now the Fiesta has the "Glowdeos" in the afternoon and evening hours.

To catch the events morning festivities you will need to arrive before 5:45 a.m. Opening night is October 2nd and begins with a firework show at 8p.m. The remaining nights you can see the special balloon glows at 5:45p.m. You can call 1-888-422-7277 for additional information. You can also obtain a ton of information on their web-site at


Albuquerque, Balloon Fiesta, Festival, Hot Air Balloons, New Mexico, October

Meet the author

author avatar group2be
I am still working on this.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
26th Sep 2010 (#)

the shaped balloons would be great fun to see, so original!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Jerry Walch
26th Sep 2010 (#)

Been there. Done that. I'm rated to fly fixed wing aircraft, rotary wing aircraft and balloons.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Maria Papadopoulou
26th Sep 2010 (#)

Very interesting!

Reply to this comment

author avatar David P Knight
29th Sep 2010 (#)

I was there in '89 and took my first (and only) balloon flight at that event. I went up in a normal shaped balloon an experience that will never forget.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?