Earlier this month, the annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta—the world’s largest balloon festival—returned to New Mexico. “For nine days in October,” says the website, “the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta® creates an enchanted world of special-shaped balloon rodeos, twilight balloon glows, and vibrant balloon-filled skies. Brisk autumn mornings in the Rio Grande Valley create an otherworldly backdrop for the breathtaking majesty of our most popular event, Mass Ascension of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®.”

This year, like every year, hundreds of balloons in hundreds of colors filled the sky, including on day three, which Reuters captured in video below:

I’ve gone to the festival once before, when I first started to travel (I was a college recruiter for Marymount College Palos Verdes, which is now Marymount California University). It was amazing. I got up super early with a colleague, dressed in layers (because it’s freezing in the morning but it warms up quickly once the sun starts to rise) and watched all the balloons fill the sky.

I didn’t ride in a hot air balloon until 15 years later, back in Albuquerque (but not for the festival). See the pic below. I hated the experience because I’m afraid of heights and they go really high. We went up 1,750 feet!

At the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

However, I truly loved my other two hot air balloon experiences because they were—get this—hot air balloon safaris! One was in South Africa and the other was in the Serengeti in East Africa. See the pic below:

More on the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Our contributor (and resident pilot) Spencer Marker covered the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta a few years back. Here’s his story.

 

Johnny Jet
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