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Balloon Fall Fest Brings Hot Air Balloons to Albuquerque Skies

Smaller COVID-safe events to include dispersed sites for balloon launches

The City of Albuquerque will host Balloon Fall Fest beginning Saturday, October 3, providing an opportunity for families to enjoy one of Albuquerque’s most thrilling traditions – hot air balloons in the skies. Following the postponement of the 49th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta due to the coronavirus pandemic, the City is stepping up to support local balloonists, including opening some City parks for smaller dispersed balloon launches in a safe way.

“It might feel a little different than normal, but thanks to our great hot air balloon pilots, we’re keeping Albuquerque’s traditions alive this year,” stated Mayor Tim Keller. “We hope everyone enjoys waking up this week to hot air balloons in the sky. Don’t come to the launch sites, but take in the view from wherever you are.”

The weekend of October 3-4, balloonists will launch from numerous locations around the metro as part of the “Lifting Spirits Aloft,” which involves coordinated launches around the world that honor the work of health care and emergency first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Five City parks--Balloon Fiesta Park, Ventana Ranch Park, Mariposa Basin Park, Vista del Norte Park, and North Domingo Baca Park—will also be open to balloonists for launches on the mornings of October 3, 4, 7, 10, and 11. Balloons are expected to take to the skies shortly after sunrise, weather permitting. Each pilot and crew will use their own discretion on which days they plan to participate. Balloons will be widely spaced, and balloon crews will be limited to five people.

No spectators will be permitted at the launch locations. Albuquerque Police and City Security will be on hand at each site to control access to the parks and to help prevent crowds from forming.

In addition to the launches from City parks, the Parks and Recreation Department is also making Balloon Fiesta Park available every day from October 3-11 to balloonists who would like to launch from the park. While no spectators will be allowed at the park, the goal is to fill the sky with balloons to help New Mexicans celebrate one of our most cherished traditions in a safe way.

Balloonists interested in participating should call 311 or visit www.oneabqvolunteers.com to sign up.