They Are All Full of Hot Air!!

And I’m not talking about Congress.  It’s the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico, of course!

07 mass ascension

Our campsight is in the Coronado Campground in Bernalillo, New Mexico.  It makes sense for us to go to one of the Park-N-Ride lots around Albuquerque and take the shuttle to Balloon Fiesta Park to avoid the massive traffic jams.  Anybody who knows me is aware that getting up before 9 a.m. is the exception to the rule for me.  I can’t believe I had to get up at 4 a.m. for this event!!  Plus, the cold front had the early morning temperatures in the 30s!!  Mike coaxed me out of bed with a big cup of coffee and dug out our cold weather clothes.  We drove to the shuttle pickup and hopped on the school bus.  I think it was a bus for elementary school-aged children.  It was defintiely a challenge for Mike to get in the seat with his long legs, but it was fun .. we were relishing this adventure.

01 school bus

Opening day of the annual event was a minute by minute affair this year because of the high winds predominating this week.  With fingers crossed, and fair weather forecasts, we braved the cold and headed out to Balloon Fiesta Park.  The dawn patrol (early balloons that go up to determine the wind speed and direction for the “mass ascension”) was a bit delayed.  We were there to watch the early inflations (after making our investment at the Krispy Creme booth for hot chocolate and donuts).

02 morning dawn patrol


Then, among all the people, balloons started to inflate, the sun came up, and the Mass Ascension was underway.  It was fantastic!  We were right in the middle of all this activity.  Spectators can walk among the balloons as they are going through the set-up and launch process.  It was so fantastic!

06 ready05 inflating balloons04 Us at Balloon Fiesta08 mass ascension


Almost 100 of the balloons have special shapes or themes.  Such fun!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader







Not sure what this is.

Not sure what this is.

06 butterfly, spiderpig, bee 06 stagecoach and princess


In the evening, the balloons on the field inflated and “lit up” for the evening “glow”.  This was followed by an incredible fireworks show that seemed to go on forever!  It was very impressive.  We’re so glad we got to experience this special annual event, up close and personal!

13 evening glow

14 fireworks


Next stop Arizona.  Cheers!



13 thoughts on “They Are All Full of Hot Air!!

  1. Wow! We are so jealous! I’ve always wanted to see the fiesta! It must be amazing in person! The special theme balloons are incredible! Thanks so much for the great photos! Glad you are having a great time.

  2. I have never been to Albuquerque’s hot air balloon festival but have been to Monument Valley and many in the Scottsdale, AZ area. Thanks for sharing this lovely post.

  3. I know I have said this before, but you guys sure know how to retire!!! I hope, with all the fun things you are doing, you haven’t forgotten that you “promised” that you would be coming down for a visit in 2014!!! Holding you to your promise!!!

    Love to all, Frank & Patti

  4. Great photos. I think we’ll put that on next year’s schedule. Looks like fun even though one needs to be up early. We love Lost Dutchman. Let me know if I can offer any suggestions and if you’re up for meeting for lunch…..Ingrid

  5. I sooo wanted to go to Albuquerque this year but we’d just returned from an 8 week trip, unpacked the RV and put it back to bed when I realized that the balloon festival was only a week and a half away. Your photos are wonderful. Thanks for posting.

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