The key to getting the best seats/views in the house is to arrive at least an hour early. In the case of Dawn Patrol (which is a must-see), that means arriving at 4 or 4:30 am. But, you only live once. You can always nap afterwards.
Take the Challenge
If you arrive the first weekend, don’t forget to check out the first evening session in which the massive balloon race, America’s Challenge, takes place. This starts around 2 pm and the race runs for about three days!
Check out Flight of the Nations
Held during the Wednesday morning Mass Ascension, this is the world’s biggest international balloon flight.
Bring some bubbly
Ever since the first French balloonists took flight in the 1700s, champagne has traditionally been offered to landowners in exchange for landing on their property.
Don’t miss the “Special Shapes Rodeo”
You’ll see an array of artistic hot air creations, from flying dinosaurs, to teakettles and turtles–anything that can be filled with hot air is a go! It’s on Thursday and Friday afternoon.
Budding filmmaker or photographer?
The fiesta holds contests for both, and it’s not hard to get some great shots. Check the website for details.
Fly into Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ) and rent a car to get to the event. There are parking lots at the north and south ends of the park, but be aware that traffic can get congested. The bulk of the festival attendees will be approaching from the south, so it might make sense to stay on the north side of town. Alternately, the Fiesta organizers encourage patrons to carpool and there are park and ride shuttle options available via the official Balloon Fiesta page.