Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

This colorful display of balloons ready for a mass ascension at the Albuquerque, New Mexico International Balloon Fiesta was photographed by the author.
This colorful display of balloons ready for a mass ascension at the Albuquerque, New Mexico International Balloon Fiesta was photographed by the author. | Source

Where is Albuquerque?

Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, was founded in 1706. It’s located on the banks of the Rio Grande, along Route 66, the highway which runs from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California.

Albuquerque was named in honor of Don Francisco Fernández de la Cueva y Enríquez de Cabrera, viceroy of New Spain from 1653 to 1660, and Duke of Alburquerque, a town in Spain.

New Mexico

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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2007
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2007 | Source

What is the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta?

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual festival, held in October, featuring ascensions of hot air and gas balloons. The Fiesta began in 1972 as part of the activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of a local radio station.

In 1972, 13 balloons participated in the event. The largest number of balloons to participate in a given year was 1019 in 2000. The maximum number of participants was capped at 600 in 2009. This was due to the growth of the city and the loss of possible landing sites for the balloons.

This model of the Montgolfier Balloon was created by Mike Young. The work has been released into the public domain worldwide.
This model of the Montgolfier Balloon was created by Mike Young. The work has been released into the public domain worldwide. | Source

Ballooning had its Origins in France

Two brothers, Joseph-Michel Montgolfier (1740-1810) and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier (1745-1799) invented the hot air balloon. They were the first to have a successful manned ascent of a balloon on November 21, 1783. Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier was the pilot.

A physicist named Jacques Alexandre-César Charles (1746-1823) invented the gas balloon. Two engineers, brothers Anne-Jean Robert (1758-1820) and Nicolas-Louis Robert (1760-1830) built the balloon for him. The Charles / Robert brothers balloon made its first flight in August 1783, but it didn’t carry any passengers. The first manned flight of a gas balloon took place on December 1, 1783—10 days after the Montgolfier brothers' hot air balloon flight.

Envelopes and Gondolas

The envelope is the part of the balloon which holds the hot air or gas. The gondola or basket is the part of the balloon which holds the passengers.

Hot Air vs Gas Balloons

Hot air rises. If the air inside the envelope is heated, its molecules will expand. The air will be lighter than the air outside the balloon. If there is enough hot air, the envelope (balloon) and the gondola (with its passengers in the basket) will be lifted off the ground. Pilots control their ascent by heating more air. They control their descent by releasing some air through vents located on the envelope.

Gas balloons ascend because the gas inside the envelope is lighter than the air outside the balloon. Balloon pilots in the United States use helium or hydrogen, both lighter-than-air gases, to fill the envelopes. The gas is pumped into the balloons, and since the gas is lighter (less dense) than the surrounding air, the balloon and the gondola, with its passengers onboard, will be lifted off the ground. Pilots of gas balloons ascend by dropping ballast—usually sand or water. They descend by releasing some of the gas in the envelope through a vent in the top of the balloon.

Have you ever ascended in a hot air or gas balloon?

  • Yes ... It was a non-tethered ascent
  • Yes ... It was a tethered ascent
  • No ... But I would be interested in a balloon ascent
  • No ... I would never consider this
See results without voting

Ballooning is Expensive

Balloons cost between $20,000 and $30,000. Propane is used in the burner which heats the air inside a hot air balloon. The propane costs $30 to $40. A tank of propane contains enough gas for a flight lasting an hour or two.

The amount of helium needed to fill the envelope for a two- to three-day flight costs a minimum of $5000. The same amount of hydrogen costs $1000.

Special Shape Balloons

Special shape balloons are the most popular type of balloon found at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta or any other balloon fiesta or air show. Some are used for advertising purposes, but some are used merely for fun.

Tethered Balloon Rides

Tethered balloon rides are sometimes offered as a means of getting people to attend a special event. The Great Park in Orange County, California features a tethered helium balloon ride on a permanent basis.

Have you ever rode in a tethered hot air balloon?

  • Yes
  • No
See results without voting

More by this Author


Comments 54 comments

CarlySullens profile image

CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

This must be a beautiful experience to be in Albuquerque and see all these amazing bright colors lifted up in the air. How awesome. I loved the added music and slide show. It really does put the reader in another place to begin the experience the magnificence of this event. Voted +++


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Carly,

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and being the first person to comment.

The music is "Morning Mood" from the "Peer Gynt Suite" by Edvard Grieg. Since balloon ascents are usually very early in the morning, I thought the music matched the activity very well.


KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Huh, I used to be afraid of heights, but now I'm becoming more of a dare devil! I wonder if there are hot air balloon places in the greater Philadelphia area...

Great Hub, Daisy! Pinned and tweeted!


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA

I have always found hot air balloons to beautiful and inspirational and wish one day to ride in one. Thank you for the great photos and information.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

This is always one of the things I've always wanted to see. Hot Air Balloons are so magical as they glide though the sky. Thanks for a beautiful hub.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Keith (KDuBarry03),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. I appreciate your continued support of my writing.

How far do you live from the Philadelphia Zoo? There's a hot air balloon ride at the zoo. That might be the closest place for you.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Tracy,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. Even tethered balloon rides are great. Don't pass up the opportunity for a tethered ride if one comes your way.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I have never gone up in a hot-air balloon; maybe someday. It sure looks like fun. Great video!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Glimmer Twin Fan,

Thanks for commenting in another of my Hubs. I appreciate your support. One thing I've always wanted to experience is balloon flight through the wine country in France.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Bill (billybuc),

I'm glad you liked the video. Creating it brought back a lot of memories for me.

You might want to look into a company called Olympia Balloon Rides. They operate in the Olympia / Seattle area.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

Love this hub! In Napa, we have regular hot air ballooning on a weekly schedule (when weather permits). I have never had a good understanding for these until reading your very helpful article. As always, another fantastic look at the world around us presented by Daisy Mariposa! Thanks for it all! Voting this one up, up and away!

HubHugs~


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

Daisy- I adore this hub. I love balloons and Kites and anything that goes up in the air. I have never done a balloon flight and your hub may just spur me on. The beautiful colors and shapes are astonishing and very well presented. I like your little potted history of balloons too. Outstanding! shared/voted/tweeted!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I had a son in law who lived in Albuquerque, but moved before I had the chance to visit him. He was always telling us about the big Balloons. I would not go up into one for anything. I'm a chicken.

Great Hub. Loved the video.

I voted this Hub UPetc, etc. and shared.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

India (K9keystrokes),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. As always, I appreciate your continued support of my writing.

There must be some sort of tradition of having balloon flights in wine country. There are balloon flights on a regular basis in the Napa Valley, a great wine producing region in Northern California. Balloon flights are very popular in the wine producing regions in France, too.


alissaroberts profile image

alissaroberts 4 years ago from Normandy, TN

I have never heard of the Balloon Fiesta but viewing all those pictures in your video makes it look like an awesome event to attend. My boys would go crazy over that spider pig balloon. I also like the background history and the interesting facts you gave on the hot air balloon. Guess I won't be taking on hot air ballooning as a new hobby seeing that I won't be able to afford one anytime soon :) Great hub - voted up and over!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mohan (Docmo),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, commenting, sharing, and tweeting. I appreciate your being such a great supporter of my work.

Most balloon flights are early in the morning, when the air is cooler. Can I assume that you recognized the music that accompanied my video? ... Edvard Grieg's "Morning Mood" from the "Peer Gynt Suite"

There are four places in the country that have tethered gas balloon flights. One of the locations is just a few miles from my house. My next adventure is going to be a tethered gas balloon flight. The cost is minimal. The flight is free. All one has to pay is $10 for parking.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mary,

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, commenting in it, and sharing it.

You might want to try a tethered balloon ride. The balloon leaves the ground, but a cable (a tether) is attached to the gondola and is securely anchored to something on the ground. The balloon, gondola, and passengers can't float away.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Alissa,

Thanks for viewing my video and reading my article. I appreciate your very kind comments. The Spider Pig balloon is very popular. I saw an article on an Internet site regarding a balloon fiesta in France. The Spider Pig was one of four American balloons invited to participate in the event.

Check your local newspaper for events such as shopping center grand openings.The centers sometimes offer tethered balloon rides as a way of drawing crowds to visit the new stores.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Hubby and I went to a balloon show once in Norman, Oklahoma. It was very impressive! The balloons are so beautiful, but I would never consider riding in one. Hubby would, he is much braver than I am! Wonderful hub, voted up and more!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I didn't realize the balloons were so costly, but I can understand why they would be so. I have seen balloon evens when I lived in the midwest, they were always so beautiful to watch. Interesting shapes on the video. Loved the huge turtle!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sheila (sgbrown),

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for viewing my video and reading my article.

Would you consider a tethered balloon ride? You would be up in the air, but the balloon couldn't float away. It would attached to something on the ground by a long cable (tether).


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Dianna (teaches12345),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. I would image one would see balloons in the midwest because there were many flat open areas that could be used as potential landing sites.


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Lovely hub Daisy. The video showcased the different shaped balloons nicely. What a beautiful event.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Teresa,

Thanks for viewing my video and reading my article. I'm glad you liked the video. I've found that when one has a number of images to display, using a HubPages-hosted video is the best technique.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is such a fun event. Surprisingly, only about 100,000 people attend each year.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Visiting the Balloon Festival is one the things on my bucket list. The balloons are just so fanciful and the video does a great job of showcasing them. Voting this Up and Beautiful.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Aurelio (alocsin),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. The Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque is such a fun event, but it doesn't seem to be well-publicized nationally.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

I think our fascination with balloons starts when we are kids and never stops. Hot Air Balloons are symbols of majesty and freedom, and after having read your hub, wealth ;) Who could afford to have their own hot air balloon?

Your background information was great, the video very nice and your photos great too. How exciting it must've been to be at this festival!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Hi Daisy. I don't know if I would go in a tether balloon ride or not. Probably not. The older I get the worse my fear of heights gets. I can only get about 5 rungs up on a ladder and start to freeze up! I would be a beautiful sight though, being up in a balloon. It would be tempting!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mary (tillsontitan),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. The balloons are so colorful, I think it would be difficult to not take great photos.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sheila (sgbrown),

Thanks for visiting again. There's a tethered helium balloon ride a few miles from my home. I'm discussing it in the Hub I'm currently writing. The balloon goes up 400 feet.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

WOW!! A great colorful fun filled festival. Enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for viewing my video and reading and commenting in my article. Have you ever seen gas or hot air balloons in Dubai?


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

I've always wanted to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Fest - it must be simply amazing! Thanks so much for taking us there through your hub. We were fortunate enough to see balloons launching just behind one of our campsites near Sedona, Arizona (see my Sedona hub) one year. I was so excited to see them close up! Unfortunately, the cost of a 1 hour balloon ride was just too much for our budget. Voted up and everything! Shared, too.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Stephanie,

Thanks for reading my Hub, commenting in it, and sharing it. When I did the research for my article, I was amazed at the cost of the balloons and related supplies and equipment.

There's a tethered helium balloon ride a few miles from my house, the only one like it in the country. The balloon ride is free. Parking costs $10.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

I must add that the balloons in your video are amazing!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Stephanie,

Thanks for stopping by again. I hope you can travel via your RV to Albuquerque for the balloon fiesta one October.


remaniki profile image

remaniki 4 years ago from Chennai, India

Amazing hub Daisy. I have read about hot air balloons and seen videos but have not gone into the details. This festival is so colorful and you have put up a nice video here.

I got a fair idea about the gas and hot air balloons from this hub. Thanks for the great information. Though it is an expensive activity, I think we should experience a fun ride on balloons at least once in a life time.

Thanks Daisy for a good read. Cheers, Rema.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rema (remaniki),

Thanks for viewing my video and reading my article. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

If you have time, you might want to read my article about activities in California for children. It discusses a tethered helium balloon ride.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Wow these are amazing! I didn't realize that hot air balloons came in so may different and interesting shapes. thanks for the history and physics of hot air balloons, and expanding my knowledge of hot air balloons. Voted up.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Shasta (Millionaire Tips),

Thanks for reading my article, viewing my video, and commenting.

I don't think the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta receives as much publicity as it should. It's a terrific event.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Neat hub about something I know so little about! Congrats on the Google+ share by HP too :)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Christy,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting.

I've been fortunate with HP shares. One of my Hubs was tweeted a few days ago.


sccanseco 3 years ago

I really enjoyed this Hub! Great video and interesting content - I really enjoyed reading a bit about the history of ballooning, as well as the mechanics involved with ballooning. Hope to one day make it to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Voted up and interesting!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sara (scanseco),

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment.

Being at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is such a fun experience. I hope that your family and you are able to attend the event one year.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

Loved the slide show of the special shapes! We plan to attend this October and made reservations to camp on the Fiesta grounds during the Special Shapes Rodeo...can't wait! It looks like so much fun! Voted up and shared!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Stephanie,

Thanks for reading my article another time and commenting once again. You were very smart to plan your trip so far in advance.

You're such a terrific photographer. I'm looking forward to seeing your photographs of the special shape balloons and hearing all about your adventure.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

I would love to ride in a hot air balloon, especially in Albuquerque, which I have yet to visit. It would be a photographic opportunity - thank goodness I do not have vertigo! Thanks for sharing, I am passing this on.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Michelle (midget38),

Thanks for reading for article and adding your comment. Thanks, too, for tweeting my Hub.

I've never read anything about vertigo in conjunction with either hot air or helium balloon rides. I don't see that that would be a problem. Such a ride would probably be a problem for someone who had claustrophobia. The person would be placed in a situation which was not under their control.


pinto2011 profile image

pinto2011 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

You have almost brought the whole idea live in front of my eyes and I am longing to have a ride. Very nice of you.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Subhas (pinto2011),

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I hope you have an opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon or a helium balloon one day.


jenbeach21 profile image

jenbeach21 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

Really interesting hub! My son has been asking a lot of questions about hot air balloons lately and now I may actually be able to answer them!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Jen (jenbeach21),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. Seeing dozens of hot air balloons in the sky over Albuquerque, New Mexico was amazing!

Tethered balloon rides are a lot of fun...even ones like the ride we experienced in a shopping center parking lot.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

An interesting hub and a unique hub celebrating hot air and gas ballooons. Came back to read. Great hub, voted up.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for returning to read this article another time. I appreciate your support of my writing.

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