Thursday, October 20, 2016

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016

Albuquerque NM. Balloon Week Oct 1-9 2016


  Oh My golly~ what a week!  Last year I went to the Fiesta for just one day during our South West Get Together~ and while it was absolutely magical, it was nothing like this years experience. I was so tired when we got back home... heck, I'm still worn out!  Last year I caught the park & ride but from the Intel lot~ because there is soooooo much traffic during the Fiesta, I didn't want to deal with it~ using the park & ride is super easy~ you buy your ticket on line, hop on the bus at 4 am....yes, 4 AM in the morning.....and it zooms you to the Fiesta and drops you off at the gate...the only drawback was that you HAD to catch the bus back to your parking lot, and the last bus left at 9.30am.....so just enough time to see all the balloons get off, but not much else!   So the last day of  Balloon Fiesta last year, when registration opened for the RV parks, I bought our tickets for this year(they sell out QUICK!). We parked in VIP West, right up on the field next to the Balloon Museum. 95 bucks a night gets you a spot so close, if you dont want to , you dont even have to get out of your camper to see the balloons~  which is what my husband did and one morning he took a video of one missing our camper by about a foot as it landed in a field right beside us. Also included is a pass for each session of the Fiesta while you are there~ so its a pretty good deal if you ask me! No driving!!! YAY.  They park 'Rally Style'...and as you can see above, its purdy darn close!!

 The Balloon Museum is great~ they go thru the complete history of balloons. There is a 4D movie I didnt much care for, but the children and husband really enjoyed the virtual reality goggles and 3D painting .

 I guess my favorite of the museum was Marie Merton's balloon~ she embroidered it all by hand in 1880.

 Prepare to be WORN OUT! if you go to Fiesta~ it starts early~ shops & food open on 'Main Street' at 4am or earlier~ there is always a laser light show around 5.30ish....after thats finished, the Dawn Patrol takes off

 I love the Dawn Patrol~ its usually about 6 or so balloons that fill & take off at night, while its still dark~ they test the air currents for the rest of the field~ 

 And are absolutely breath taking in the air~ the balloons light up and twinkle like huge fire flies~ its really magical....well worth my teeth chattering from the cold!

 Once the sun comes up tho, it really warms up and the balloons all start coming to life at the same time

 You can get as close to the as you like, and if you have paid around 450.00 per person, could even take a ride in one of the Rainbow Rider Balloons.

 Yes, thats a cow butt~ the Cream Land Dairy Cow to be exact~ its a HUGE balloon!

 Yoda & Darth Vader having a stare down.....

 There were also of really neat special shapes this year~ several were new~ this Dragon looks like she is people surfing as she is filling up

 My favorite at the special shape rodeo was 'Flutter' the butterfly

 They are overwhelming when you look up and there are so many balloons all at once!

 After the last of the Park & Ride buses leaves, Main Street really clears out and there are so many things to enjoy. From the Balloon Museum all the way down the edge of the fields is tent after tent of shops, entertainment and food... you can really spend all day! If you get tired of walking, there are always courtesy shuttles (little golf carts) that can pick you up and take you where you want to go. 

 At the far end of the field NASA had a huge tent set up with cockpits you could get into, thermal cameras, space suits, books~ all sorts of fun hands on things. Beyond the tent, out by the the big white spike sticking up, was the chainsaw carving competition that went on till about 2 I guess each day~ you could watch folks carving away at huge trees and buy what they were carving.....and Oh My Golly.... if that wasnt enough....

Up at the opposite end....had to be over a mile away....was the kids area~ things for them to do, rides~ there were big blow up clear plastic balls that they could get into and zoom around in like hamsters....both on the ground and over water....there was a huge bouncy house thing...some carnival rides, and Josh & Emma had to take the Gyro Ball for a spin...literally~ the LONGEST 5 minutes ever!
We had a great time and I couldn't recommend the Balloon Fiesta more~ tho it is a weather permitting event~ if its too windy for a session, you can use your ticket again at the next one. If you want to go next year, and especially if you want to camp at one of several RV sites~ better get your tickets, now~ they may already be sold out!

1 comment:

Janice Gail said...

Sooo glad you enjoyed it! Us locals have gotten a little used to it, but it's way cool to see a dragon or Smokey the Bear float over your house when you're in your pajamas drinking your breakfast coffee. Now have you gotten your pass for next year, too?