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Ready, Set, Balloon Fiesta at Albuquerque's Annual Festival

By Kelly Church

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an Albuquerque, NM international hot air balloon event. Held the first week in October, the 9-day festival is made up of multiple daily events for people of all ages. With events during all hours of each day of the festival, the event is a great experience for people of all ages.

According to Melissa Valles, Marketing Manager for the balloon festival, guests who attend at any of the morning events will bear witness to the Dawn Patrol which is the first group of balloons launched just before sunrise, allowing the pilots to gauge the winds for the day.

After sunrise, festival goers will see up to 550 hot air balloons launch into the sky and compete. On the ground, there are all kinds of food and drink vendors, and exhibits to enjoy. In the evening, guests can walk the field and watch as balloons are inflated, but not launched. On cue, the pilots light the burners in their balloons for what Valles calls a magical wonderland. During this event, guests can walk amongst the balloons and talk to the pilots and crews.

"Balloon Fiesta is all about hot air balloons, however there is also a children's educational area called the 7-Eleven Balloon Discovery Center, chainsaw carving competitions, music and entertainment on the Sandia Resort & Casino Main Stage, and the final Saturday features Music Fiesta, a day-long music festival beginning at approximately 1 p.m. and ending at 5 p.m. before the evening glow event, laser light show and fireworks display," Valles says. "Each year, Music Fiesta has typically featured a country headliner such as Darius Rucker, Josh Turner or The Band Perry, along with new up and coming artists."

This year's upcoming Balloon Fiesta will feature all of the traditional hot air balloon events, including launching, competitions, flying and landing, and additional festival entertainment: chainsaw carving, pin trading, fireworks, rodeo and more. Tickets are selling for $10 per session, or $45 for a pack of 5 tickets. Visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta website on July 15, 2016 for tickets and pricing for the Music Fiesta.

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