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Monday, December 6, 2021

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, USA

The famous Albuquerque Balloon Festival made a comeback to the skies after the hiatus caused due to the pandemic. This festival has been famous for the plethora of hot air balloon collections it exhibits. The town of Albuquerque, otherwise made famous through the popular television series Breaking Bad, is also famous for the annual hot air balloon festival it organizes. The Albuquerque Balloon Festival is not just an event on an ordinary scale but holds a rich cultural value in the heritage of Mexico and has an enriching history. Over the years it has assumed grand proportions and is now celebrated on an international scale, with as many as 500 hot air balloons making rounds through the skies of Albuquerque.

The History of Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta:

The Albuquerque Balloon Festival has been taking place in New Mexico for more than fifty years now. This fifty-year-long tradition began with nothing but a simple discussion. A hot air balloon festival was being held in the honor of the silver jubilee celebrations of Radio 770 KOB in the year 1972. The radio station manager convening over the program at the time was named Dick McKee. He casually threw a question to Sid Cutter, who happened to be the owner of Cutter Flying Services, if he could borrow the hot air balloon of the only man who owned a hot air balloon in the entirety of Mexico back then. This seemingly simple help blossomed into a full-length conversation about ballooning between the two. The manager of KOB asked Cutter about the largest congregation of hot air balloons he had seen in his life to which Sid replied that it was nineteen balloons. Cutter had seen the then-largest gathering of hot air balloons. McKee immediately had an idea and asked if they could gather at least nineteen hot air balloons, if not more, the following year at the same place. Cutter tried his best and got as many as thirteen hot air balloons, all sponsored by Cutter Flying Service, in the month of April that year itself. The event took place in a simple position- the parking space of Colorado Shopping Mall with spectatorship of about twenty thousand guests. The next year, however, the hot air ballooning championship was hosted officially. The ballooning championship has since then turned into the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta ever since then. The date of the festival was changed from February to October in 1975 because Autumn proved as a far better time to hold the flying festival. After all, the weather was way less turbulent and more suitable for flying.

Ever since then, the Albuquerque Balloon Festival has remained an annual event for New Mexico which gets hosted by the town of Albuquerque in early October. It goes on for a full nine days with hot air balloons and guests from all over the world. It receives plenty of coverage from the international media. From a simple beginning of a mere thirteen hot air balloons to as many as five hundred to date, the festival has traversed a long cultural and historical pathway. It now proudly stands as the world’s largest hot air balloon festival, gracefully toppling the Grand Est Mondial festival held in France. The New Mexico Balloon Festival, ever since its inception, has continued to grow every year. It reached its peak in the year 2000 when as many as a thousand balloons were registered. The Albuquerque Balloon Festival management felt the need to assert quality over quantity and therefore, to avoid overcrowding, set a limit of seven hundred hot air balloons on the festival, which was later reduced even further to six hundred, because of a lack of landing spaces for those hot hair balloons. The festival witnesses a footfall of about a hundred thousand people every year and only a lucky bunch of those spectators can watch the inflation and launch of those hot air balloons.  

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2021

The Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival makes an epic comeback after the minor setback it faced in terms of the global pandemic. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is to be held in October as per its tradition and would right again see the inflation and take-offs of many hot air balloons. Reports say that there could be as many as 5five hundred and forty hot air balloons adorning the skies of New Mexico this year. The nine-day festival held each year had to be canceled, keeping in mind the precautionary measures of social distancing during the pandemic of 2020. However, as things have started to ease up, especially with the Olympic games of 2020 being held in 2021 successfully, the Albuquerque Balloon Festival is also to be held as per schedule, provided that the weather permits regular flying. 

However, the pandemic has still not come to a halt exactly, although the declining graph in the number of cases and mortality rate seems like a huge relief. When enquired about the precautionary measures to be observed within the festival, the authorities informed that while volunteers will not be asking for proof of vaccination, they will look to it that social distancing is maintained and there are sanitization checkpoints every few minutes, so that the spectators, as well as the participants, can take good care of themselves. Moreover, the spokesman for the Albuquerque balloon fiesta 2021, Tom Garrity has informed that the main attractions in the form of balloons like the ones with ornate decorations or the ones emulating cartoon characters shall be spread all over the field, thereby encouraging the crowd to disperse alongside every balloon as well. Dining facilities for the participants as well as VIP guests have also been canceled keeping in mind the safety of the people involved.


The Albuquerque Balloon Festival would be something that ballooning enthusiasts could look forward to, especially with this year’s special attractions of remote-controlled hot air balloons. They shall be tethered to the ground to provide the spectators’ ease of viewership. After a year-long hiatus, the enthusiasts cannot wait for the colorful and magnificent hot air balloons to grace the skies of Albuquerque yet again this year.

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Josie Patra
Josie Patra is a veteran writer with 21 years of experience. She comes with multiple degrees in literature, computer applications, multimedia design, and management. She delves into a plethora of niches and offers expert guidance on finances, stock market, budgeting, marketing strategies, and such other domains. Josie has also authored books on management, productivity, and digital marketing strategies.

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