It’s an exciting time for our Albuquerque readers. You probably already know about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta coming to town. But, did you know that Cinder ABQ will be having a Grand Opening Party on October 2nd?! That’s right! You can come visit us at our grand opening party right after seeing the sights at the Balloon Fiesta. So, get ready for a week full of fiesta fun and keep reading to get all the details! 

What is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta?

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Hot Air Balloons

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For nine days in October, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta creates an enchanted world all its own. Get ready for special shape balloon rodeos, twilight balloon glows, and vibrant balloon-filled skies. Brisk fall mornings in the Rio Grande Valley create an otherworldly backdrop for the breathtaking majesty of their most popular event, Mass Ascension. The experience of watching hundreds of gentle airy giants take flight is both humbling and inspiring. It’s these magical moments that have continued to bring ballooning fans worldwide together for more than 50 years. 

The Launch Field

Balloon Fiesta Park

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Balloon Fiesta Park’s launch field alone is comparable to the size of 54 football fields. This 60+ acre area is necessary to accommodate the 500+ balloons that launch during the event. The total expanse of the park is a whopping 365 acres, custom designed to hold the largest ballooning event on Earth. Since its humble inception at a shopping mall parking lot in 1972, with a total of 13 balloons, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has grown into the most photographed event in the world.

Special Shape Rodeo

Special Shape Rodeo Hot Air Balloons

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The Special Shape Rodeo started in 1989 and has become the most popular event at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Since the Balloon Fiesta started the Special Shape Rodeo, many events around the world have followed suit and many have now added some form of special shape event into their own programs. 

Special Shape Rodeo at the Balloon Fiesta

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The first Special Shape Rodeo was such a success that it caused major traffic jams and drew huge crowds of people in. This first rodeo featured twenty-eight special-shaped balloons and took place on solid ground. Each year the rodeo grew more and more. The rodeo saw 35 shapes in 1990, 45 shapes in 1991, 62 shapes from eight countries in 1992, and a whopping 108 shapes in 1996. The 1996 rodeo was the largest Special Shape Rodeo to date.

America’s Challenge

America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race

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America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race is one of the world’s two premier distance races for gas balloons. It is modeled after the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett, the world’s oldest air race and the world championship for distance gas ballooning. America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race was founded by the Ballon Fiesta in 1995 through the vision and efforts of Mark Sullivan, former Balloon Fiesta president. In addition, Mark Sullivan was also the recipient of the Montgolfier Diplome, one of ballooning’s highest honors. Sullivan saw the need for America to be identified with the world’s most prestigious ballooning sport and thus the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race was born.

America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race at the Balloon Fiesta

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The field is set for the 25th America’s Challenge gas balloon distance event. Eight teams representing five countries are making preparations to participate in this prestige event. Lifting off from a common launch site on Balloon Fiesta Park, the idea is to fly further than any other team. If they do, they win! The 25th America’s Challenge is scheduled to launch at 6pm on Saturday, October 1st, 2022, with inflation starting a few hours before. 

Balloon Rides

Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Rides New Mexico

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Want to take to the skies? Rainbow Ryder’s Inc. will be offering rides during The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta for patrons! Rainbow Ryder’s Inc. is the largest premier hot air balloon business serving the southwest since 1983. Their pilots have flown for more than 50,000 hours, serving more than half a million passengers. All of their pilots are FAA-certified and have nearly 200 years of combined experience. So, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands when you’re flying with Rainbow Ryder’s Inc. Pilot expertise and commitment to safety are two important reasons why Rainbow Ryders has been the official hot air balloon ride provider for Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta since 1999.


Glamping Tents at the Balloon Fiesta

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Experience the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in a whole new way with Glamping. Glamping tents are now available in an exclusive location in Balloon Fiesta Park. Enjoy spectacular views of balloons flying high against a stunning background of the Sandia Mountains from the tent village. No need to battle the traffic; You’ll be within walking distance to the launch field. In this exclusive location, you will have access to restroom and shower trailers. In addition, there’s a hospitality area with grills, games, and lounge chairs.

The Gondola Club

Gondola Club at the Balloon Fiesta

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Enjoy the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta from one of the most picturesque locations in Balloon Fiesta Park. The Gondola Club is a private area away from the crowds that offer guests delicious food, local entertainment, premium parking, courtesy shuttles, and outdoor seating for guests. Your experience will provide spectacular views of a Mass Ascension, Special Shapes Rodeo, balloon glow, and their stunning fireworks show. The Gondola Club has its own gift shop so you can shop without fighting the crows on Main Street.

Balloon Glow

Balloon Glow

The events now known as balloon glows were invented in Albuquerque in 1979 when local pilots inflated balloons on Christmas Eve night as a thank you to local residents. Obviously the sight of balloons lit up at night like giant holiday ornaments was breathtaking. As a result, glow events are now held all over the world. Balloon Fiesta launched its Balloon Glow, the world’s biggest, in 1987. Balloon Glow all burns are perhaps the most spectacular sight out of all of the spectacles at the Balloon Fiesta. This is when all of the balloons fire their burners and light up at the same time. The Balloon Glows, followed by New Mexico’s spectacular firework displays, are now among Balloon Fiesta’s most popular events. 

Grand Opening Party

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Cinder’s awesome Albuquerque store is holding a Grand Opening Party! Get ready for a great time with delicious food truck catering, bumping live music, and great discounts on our fine selection of cannabis products. Plus, you can expect to see products from our friends over at T-N-A Farms as well as appearances from some awesome local breweries like Gravity Bound Brewery, Rio Bravo Brewery, and Still Spirits Distillery. So, stop by for great times and greater weed. We look forward to seeing you there!

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