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Mayor Keller Announces Balloon Fall Fest—Bringing Hot Air Balloons to Albuquerque Skies

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

Sept. 23, 2020

Mayor Tim Keller, alongside City leaders and members of the hot air ballooning community, announced plans to hold hot air balloon launches this coming October. While the coronavirus crisis forced the postponement of the 49th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, City leaders in partnership with AIBF and local balloonists want to ensure Albuquerque families have an opportunity to enjoy hot air balloons this fall.

“Fall in Albuquerque is typically marked by a few things without fail – the smell of green chile roasting, a refreshing crispness in the air after a long hot summer, and hot air balloons at Balloon Fiesta,” stated Mayor Keller. “Like this summer, this fall is going to look and feel a little different around Albuquerque with the postponement of this year’s Fiesta. But we’re stepping up to host some fun ballooning events in a safe way to try to bring a little bit of normalcy back to our city,”

Every fall, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta draws hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. However, the coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement or cancellation of large events like the Fiesta, representing a major blow to the local economy and the morale of Albuquerque families. Thanks to some innovative thinking on the part of City leaders in partnership with local balloonists, hot air balloons will still fill Albuquerque’s skies with COVID-safe practices in place.

This year’s events will offer a way for families to enjoy the thrill of hot air balloons while taking necessary precautions to keep people safe and healthy:

Small groups of balloons will launch from City parks at 7:30 am on the mornings of October 3rd, 4th, 7th, 10th, and 11th. No spectators will be permitted at the launch locations. Balloons will be widely spaced, and balloon crews will be limited to five people. Specific locations for launch sites will be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition to the pre-planned launches at City parks, the Parks and Recreation Department is also making Balloon Fiesta Park available the first week of October 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 launching from Balloon Fiesta Park should contact John Fitzpatrick at [email protected].