Saturday, December 9, 2023


RVing to the annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

By Cheri Sicard
In the video below, Brian and Michelle, the team from LivinRVision, take us with them to visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta—an RV trip on many RVers’ bucket lists. If you ever wondered if it is worth going, watch the video, find out, and live vicariously through Brian and Michelle. Although the couple says that they’ve watched videos in the past, it just does not compare to the awe and spectacle of actually being there.

Each October, hundreds of hot air balloon enthusiasts gather and set in motion some of the most spectacular sights available in the “Land of Enchantment,” which is pretty darn spectacular even without a sky filled with colorful hot air balloons.

Brian and Michelle attended the Fiesta as part of an Escapees trip. Therefore, everything was set up, organized, and arranged before they arrived. They picked up an information pack, got themselves parked, and it was time for fun!

This is a huge event with lots of RVs and, as such, infrastructure services such as water and holding tank dumper trucks are on-site. As of last year’s Fiesta, water was free and it cost $30 for someone to come and dump out your tanks.

A pilot presentation and demonstration explaining the process and mechanics of hot air ballooning was first on the agenda.

After an extremely early rise the next morning, they joined the Escapees shuttle and motored over to the balloon field. It was still dark when the “Dawn Patrol” of hot air balloons began ascending into the Albuquerque skies. These early ballooners test wind conditions and fly until it becomes light enough to spot the landing pads.

After that comes the “morning glow” when all the balloons light their torches and begin filling. After an opening ceremony and national anthem, an awe-inspiring mass ascension begins.

The sheer volume of balloons astonishes—over 650 of them. The mass ascension takes a couple of hours to complete and get all of the flying craft into the air. As soon as one launches, another takes its place until all are in the air.

A small city pops up around this event. On the ground, a carnival-like atmosphere offers tons of food and vendor options as well as a wide variety of live entertainment.

The couple then take the shuttle bus back to camp before returning for the “evening glow” and fireworks.

If you can imagine, the launch field itself is over 80 acres, so that’s a lot of hot air balloons. Actually, you don’t need to imagine, watch the video and see!

Watch the video to get more of a feel for what it is like to attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, how much it costs, and practical tips to keep you comfortable while there. One word of warning: This a HUGE, crowded event, so if you don’t like crowds, enjoy it on the video, take a pass on attending, and scratch this from your bucket to-do list.

Learn more about the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta here.

Discover more about Escapees RV Club here.



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Lawrence Neely (@guest_254770)
2 months ago

Been going there for years. Crewing since 2006 and on the field all 10 days. If you are there, we are at S7. The balloons I crew for are at time stamp 18:19-18:32 a square tiles in spiral 8 colors (skittles) flying in the center of the video and a yellow balloon with a viking ship on the side (still on the ground)

Neal Davis (@guest_254748)
2 months ago

Thanks, Cheri! The camping prices were interesting, with nothing in our sweet spot. $250/night got us too many daily tickets 4, not 2) and gave us unneeded sewer. $115/night gets us 2 daily passes, no utilities, and frighteningly loud noises to terrify our dog. $100/night gets us utilities and no tickets. Good advice to watch the video and skip the rest; thank you!

Thomas D (@guest_254743)
2 months ago

We went when Good Sam was still an RV club, not a sales office. Drove in, registered, went to assigned spot. Wonderful time. Too bad Margus ruined it

Shannon (@guest_254717)
2 months ago

We’ve been to the Balloon Fiesta twice and loved it. The first time we were there in our RV and loved every minute. The second time we were living in Los Alamos NM and drove down for the day, leaving our home around 3am to make sure we got there for the ascension and again had a great time, but the day was rather exhausting. We no longer live in NM but would definitely consider going again if we could get an RV spot across from the park that we had the first tme we went. It is such a wonderful experience.

Wayne Caldwell (@guest_254710)
2 months ago

We live 35 miles south of Albuquerque and enjoy the Balloon Fiesta each year – and although a wonderful experience seeing all of the different balloons and shapes – preferably on tv from home. The traffic and parking is insane. Google AIBF and see the different prices for the various offerings. You’ll be amazed.

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