If you’ve been thinking about heading to Albuquerque this October for the annual International Balloon Fiesta, it’s hard to believe that you’re having any trouble deciding. After all, it’s noted as the world’s premiere balloon event, and you’d be hard pressed to find such a variety of entertainment in one convenient place. And we don’t just mean the plethora of balloons floating by in the sky—there’s a little something for everyone at this year’s fiesta.
Mass Ascension and Balloon Attractions
Of course, the Balloon Fiesta features plenty of hot air balloons. On the weekends during the Fiesta, there are mass ascensions each morning—and they’re exactly what you’d imagine them to be. At 7:15 a.m. each day, balloons are launches in two waves and are led by a balloon flying the American flag accompanied by “The Star Spangled Banner” on the airwaves. It is truly a sight to see—dozens upon dozens of beautifully decorated hot air balloons in the sky. There are also balloon races, a Balloon Glow event, and Balloon Fiesta pin trading events.
This year, the Balloon Fiesta will feature a Music Fiesta that will showcase different performers. On October 12, the Music Fiesta will begin at noon and continue on through the day. It will conclude with headliner Darius Rucker, formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish, whose performance will begin at 4 p.m. that afternoon. Along for the ride will be local singer-songwriter Bob Farrell, Nashville’s Derryl Perry, and one more artist who has yet to be announced. Rucker has made the transition from a pop-rock singer to a country star. His most recent single, “Wagon Wheel,” has garnered praise and radio play all over the country.
Another non-balloon event that’s sure to be a don’t-miss show is the Chainsaw Carving Invitational. Witness eight pro-chainsaw-carvers from all over the country, and even from Zimbabwe in Africa, carve detailed sculptures with chainsaws. They will be carving on October 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12, and chainsaw and sculpture raffles will also take place. This year, the raffles will benefit the Albuquerque Area Firefighters Random Acts, and this year’s theme is New Mexico 100 Years of Statehood.
Check out the International Balloon Fiesta this year, and stay at the Barcelona Suites hotel in Albuquerque, which is located conveniently close to all of the festivities.