This post will cover a visit to the Balloon Fiesta Park, but we will post more this month about seeing balloons in other places as well. In fact, many of our favorite photos have come from outside of the park. Going to the actual fiesta is like nothing else, but on days you don’t go, you will still see balloons all over town. The fiesta this year is Oct. 1-9.
Some people plan to spend each day at the park, and they know what they want to do. For us though, we would plan to see other places in town as well. If you’ve been to Albuquerque before, perhaps you could take a road trip. We hope exploring our blog will help you with ideas. We’ve saved several destinations for this month of September with that in mind.
Of the nine days of the fiesta, there are usually about two that get cancelled because of weather. The weather is never horrible, but if the wind is anything more than a light breeze, the balloons are not safe to launch. For this reason, some visitors plan to attend earlier in the week so that they still will have some days left if the day they wanted is cancelled.
The weekends are the most crowded, and the traffic is atrocious to get in. If you expect it to be, then you won’t be dismayed. Once you’re parked and inside the grounds, all is good. Because of this, we usually go on a weekday. The traffic is still bad, but not as much as on weekends. Also, because the traffic is bad, you must get there really early–start out well before sunrise. Disregard this advice, and you’ll find out.
It is good to choose a day that has a morning glow, which most of them do. The evenings are also good. The balloons don’t take off, but they glow, and there are great photo opportunities. We especially like the special shape glodeo. A skyful of balloons is a wonderful sight, but after 100 photos, the photos all tend to look alike. That’s why we’re fond of the special shapes as the photographs will have more variety. We suggest that you choose a morning that has what you want as well as an evening that does.
Above are Darth Vadar and Wicked. Each year will have the debut of new special shapes. Last year a popular new one was Yoda. This year there will be several, including the camper van inspired by “Breaking Bad.”
There is a bus shuttle service called Park and Ride. People park at local shopping malls, and a bus drives them straight through the congestion, morning and night. It is a good way to go.
Some photographers wander around, and some set up a tripod and most of the balloons will float by them eventually.
The Bumblebee Family. The original two are on the left, and one year they appeared with a baby. Each time they fly, the original two try to “kiss.” Some days it just doesn’t work out, so if you can capture their successful kiss, you’ve got the money shot!
You will see the media as well as a strong police presence. There is also a row of food vendors. Having breakfast while you witness the balloons is part of the experience for us.