Albuquerque's Greatest Show On (and Above) Earth
Albuquerque’s azure skies become a surreal sight in early October, as dragons, cows, princesses and even Darth Vader and Yoda take flight during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico.
Sponsored by Canon this year the themed "Where Dreams Take Flight," the world’s largest balloon festival and most photographed event on the planet sees more than 550 hot-air balloons from 18 countries and 45 states lift off daily during the first week of October.
Throughout the week, an estimated 500,000 people will attend the early-morning launches and evening balloon glows.
Yoda from "Star Wars" delights spectators at the 2014 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. He, his friend Darth Vader and 548 other balloons – almost 100 of which are special shape balloons – return to Albuquerque the first week of October. — Photo courtesy of Steve Larese
New for 2015, Parabatix is a group of international freestyle paramotor (motorized paragliders) pilots that will race and perform acrobatics above the balloon field after morning ballooning events.
Also new this year, laser light shows will take place mornings and evenings, with laser art using inflated balloons as screens in displays choreographed to music.
Throughout the week, balloons launch in waves beginning at 5:30 a.m. In the evenings, tethered balloons create a forest of glowing color throughout the 78-acre grass field, followed by fireworks.
Ballooning competitions test pilots’ skills as they compete for prizes, such as trying to hit ground targets with beanbags.
Hundreds of vendors offer everything from breakfast burritos to collectable ballooning pins.
Saturday, Oct. 10, sees the Music Fiesta headlining The Band Perry, with opening acts Gloriana and Two Way Crossing.
Music begins at 1:15 p.m., and Music Fiesta-goers are admitted to the following Balloon Glow and fireworks for no additional charge. Tickets begin at $8, with reserved seating at $50.
General parking is $10 per session, and admission is $8 per morning and evening sessions. Children 12 years and younger are admitted free.
Park and Ride buses avoid the traffic and take visitors directly to the park for $20 total. Free bicycle storage is available for those who’d prefer to pedal to this one-of-a-kind event.
Visitors should wear layered clothing, as the mornings can be cold. But it quickly warms up once the sun crests the Sandía Mountains.
Bring cash, too, as some of the food and craft booths don’t accept credit cards.
For a new way to experience the balloons, consider a guided kayaking trip on the Rio Grande to see balloons drifting along the river, and avoid the traffic and get some exercise with the Routes Bicycle Rentals Balloon Fiesta Bike Tour.
After the balloons have landed, make sure to explore the rest of Albuquerque's many unique attractions, such as its Sandia Aerial Tramway, one of the longest in the world.
Or stop in at one of the best restaurants near the balloon fiesta grounds.
The 2015 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3, to Sunday, Oct. 11. For a complete listing of events, visit the balloon fiesta's website.
Albuquerque's Greatest Show On (and Above) Earth: FeaturesAlbuquerque's Greatest Show On (and Above) EarthAlbuquerque's Greatest Show On (and Above) Earth: [CITYThe Greatest Show On Earth (4/9) Movie CLIPThe Greatest Show On Earth Trailer (1952The Greatest Show On Earth (2/9) Movie CLIPThe Greatest Show On Earth (2015‘Greatest Show On Earth’ Wasn’t A CircusThe Greatest Show On Earth (7/9) Movie CLIPThe Greatest Show On Earth On ITunesThe Greatest Show On EarthGloria Grahame, The Greatest Show On Earth, 1952The Greatest Show On Earth (9/9) Movie CLIPThe Greatest Show On Earth From Overrated Best PictureThe Greatest Show On Earth (3/9) Movie CLIPThe Greatest Show On Earth (1952) Cecil B. DeMille, JamesThe Greatest Show On Earth Halloween CarnivalGreatest Show On Earth, The (1952)VIDEO: Goodbye To The Greatest Show On EarthSous Le Plus Grand Chapiteau Du Monde (The Greatest ShowDownload The Greatest Show On Earth Movie For IPod/iPhoneThe Greatest Show On Earth (without RichardThe Greatest Show On Earth Jigsaw Puzzle In Puzzle Of TheUse Your Words: The Greatest Show On EarthEvocognoThe Greatest Show On Earth (1952Sito Del Mensile Circo Ente NazionaleHarikalar Sirki – The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH -DVD Classics CornerTitle: The Greatest Show OnRingling Bros. Shuts Down The Big Top After 146 YearsThe Greatest Show On Earth (1952) Poster #1DVD Covers & Labels ByThe Greatest Show On Earth ( Halloween Block Party"Greatest Show On EarthThe Greatest Show On Earth (1952) DVDThe Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution ByLife SMS Page : 13The Greatest Show On Earth Mixtape By K-Major Hosted By DJGloria Grahame, Lyle Bettger, The Greatest Show On EarthThe Greatest Show On Earth (1952) :: Flickers InDorothy Lamour, The Greatest Show On Earth, 1952The Greatest Show On Earth DVD165 Best THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH Images On PinterestElite Dance Academy: Greatest ShowProject: ShadowchaserThe Greatest Show On Earth By Shandyscribs On DeviantArtThe Greatest Show On Earth (8/9) Movie CLIPThe Greatest Show On Earth 1952 Full MovieCircus Band Music The Greatest Show On Earth SEALED NOSComparatives And SuperlativesFILM POSTER THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH (1952 Stock PhotoThe Greatest Show On Earth—Post Prom Party On BehanceThe Greatest Show On Earth (Orchestral CoverThe Greatest Show On Earth Comes To Cincinnati With ASarasota's Circus Legacy Lives On!EBook For Booklovers: The Greatest Show On Earth -TheThe Greatest Show On Earth (Guitar CoverCalgary Stampede Is The Greatest Outdoor Show On EarthThe XL Center & The Greatest Show On EarthRingmaster! My Year On The Road With The Greatest Show OnWHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS: THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTHFirst ImpressionsThe Greatest Show On Earth (1/9) Movie CLIPThe Greatest Show On Earth (6/9) Movie CLIPReo Cragun – The Greatest Show On Earth LyricsThe Greatest Show On Earth To Showcase Circus-themedJ.STEWART, C.HESTON & C.WILDE "Greatest Show On Earth"The Greatest Show On Earth (1952), A Film By Cecil BThe Greatest Show On Earth = NEW DVD R4Circus Paintings (Page #4 Of 73)1952: The Greatest Show On Earth¿Tanta Estatuilla Para Esto?: Las Peores Ganadoras Del74 Best Images About Victorian Circus On Pinterest