The event is the largest balloon festival in the world, followed by the Grand Est Mondial Air in France. The Balloon Fiesta is a nine-day event occurring in the first full week of October in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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The Balloon Fiesta began in 1972 as the highlight of a 50th birthday celebration for 770 KOB Radio. The Balloon Fiesta grew each year for decades. The number of registered balloons reached a peak of 1,019 in 2000, prompting the Balloon Fiesta Board to limit the number to 750 starting in 2001. Countless more people gather at landing sites all over the city to watch incoming balloons. It has increased to 1,000 in 2011.
The convention has also become a major showcase of New Mexican culture and history and features numerous cultural exhibitions.
Balloon Fiesta Park (map), from which the balloons are launched, is located on the northern edge of the city. In 2005, the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum (map) was opened on the grounds. The museum is dedicated to the history, science, sport, and art of ballooning and other innovative forms of flight.
Rainbow Ryders. The only one which operates directly from Balloon Fiesta Park during the Balloon Fiesta edit.
The Sandia Mountains offer outdoors opportunities ranging from straight hiking (the La Luz trail is popular) on to serious, multi-day rock climbing. For a map of Sandia Mountain trails, see the Cibola National Forest website.