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Wed Oct. 11-Sunday Oct. 15, 2017

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Join us for a one of a kind weekend getaway!

This will be our third time taking a group to the hot air balloon fiesta and everyone has always loved the awe and amazement this weekend offers.

The Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world !

 You will witness hundreds of the most colorful, most creative hot air balloons being launched at once and soaring across the skies. 

You will be able to walk amongst the giant balloons at dawn and at dusk as they prepare to be launched and you will also be amazed as the hot air balloons are lit up on the ground under the night sky in a giant “balloon glow”.

The festival runs all week with numerous exciting events each day and evening including special launches of hundreds of hot air balloons into the morning skies, skills competitions amongst the pilots in the skies, displays of the hot air balloons glowing as the sun sets each evening, fireworks shows in the night skies, plus live entertainment.

You will be mesmerized by the grace and color of countless hot air balloons soaring above you and you will thrill at the chance to literally walk amongst the hot air balloons on the ground during the morning and evening sessions.

Not only will we see hundreds of hot air balloons launched and glide through the skies, but we will see them lit up glowing against the sunset in the evenings, plus watch amazing competitions where the pilots attempt to drop objects from their balloons in the sky and hit target spots on the ground.

Each day, our hotel provide shuttle service to the designated balloon fiesta park and ride lot located at the airport where we will then enjoy the convenience of direct transport by the balloon fiesta shuttle buses which run continuously from the airport park and ride lot to the nearby balloon fiesta grounds.

If you wish, you can even book a ride in one of the hot air balloons during the morning launches to enjoy the experience of soaring amidst the amazing balloons as the sun rises any morning during the festival!

We will also enjoy a morning visit to nearby Santa Fe, with its chic shopping boutiques and art galleries, plus an afternoon visit to the Petroglyphs National Monument located in Albuquerque to view hundreds of unique Native American carvings and petroglyphs.


Arrive at your own leisure into Albuquerque New Mexico.  Our hotel offers a free airport shuttle to pick you up and bring you to the hotel.

We will be staying four nights at the Days Inn and Suites Airport hotel.  The hotel offers a free daily hot breakfast, an indoor pool and indoor Jacuzzi, plus a fitness center.  Each room has a microwave and a refrigerator and two queen beds, plus bathroom, complete with hairdryer.
The hotel is ranked by TripAdvisor as one of the top five hotels in 144 hotels in Albuquerque.

This evening we will have a welcome orientation in the hotel lobby with free soup and coffee. After the orientation, join us if you wish, for a casual  group dinner at Applebees restaurant, just a short walk from our hotel.

This morning we will leave early on the hotel shuttle to the park and ride located at the airport where we will pick up the balloon fiesta shuttle taking us directly to the festival grounds.  Upon arrival, the morning is at your leisure to stroll the grounds and enjoy the festivities.

This is truly a special experience.  Imagine, wandering across the field as the sun is just rising… You can actually walk alongside and past each giant hot air balloon as it is filled and you can watch up close as the balloons take shape and then they launch in the new morning sky !


Concessions are plentiful to provide you with anything you seek from food, to drinks to souvenirs.

The hotel and fiesta shuttles run continuously so you can choose to leave the hotel at any time you wish for both the morning and evening festivities each day. We will designate a time for the group departure for each morning and evening and you can choose to go with us or at another time of your preference.

Morning Session


Dawn Patrol- Walk among the hot air balloons as their pilot teams work to inflate them in the field.  Watch up close the hot air inflating the balloons at dawn as the sun rises.


Laser Light Show- A spectacle to watch, as you walk among the dawn patrol balloons


Special Shape Rodeo-Witness a colorful array of hot air balloons in unique shapes and designs, such as cactus, bumblebees, stagecoaches and much more, as they launch and then glide through the sky.  You can walk right up to the balloons before they launch and then be mesmerized as they lift off right before your eyes!


Competition Flying begins- On Thursday and Friday mornings the balloon pilots will compete in several tasks requiring them to fly over a marked target space on the ground and then drop an object as close to that marked target space as possible.  Watch in amazement as the pilots test their skills.  You can even stand amidst the judges on the field for the best views if you wish.


Dawn Patrol
Dawn Patrol: The Dawn Patrol began at Balloon Fiesta in 1978, when two California balloonists developed position lighting systems that allowed them to fly at night. Dawn Patrol pilots take off in the dark and fly until it is light enough to see landing sites. Fellow balloonists appreciate the Dawn Patrol because they can watch the balloons and get an early idea of wind speeds and directions at different altitudes. On mass ascension days, about a dozen Dawn Patrol balloons perform the Dawn Patrol Show, a choreographed inflation and launch set to music that has been part of the Balloon Fiesta since 1996. Dawn Patrol inflations begin, weather permitting, at about 5:45 AM, with launch around 6:00 AM.

Watching the balloons light up the sky at dawn


Special Shape Rodeo
The Special Shape Rodeo™ started in 1989 and now has become the most popular event at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®. Since the Balloon Fiesta started the Special Shapes Rodeo™ in 1989, many events around the world have now added some kind of special shape event to their program.
The first Special Shape Rodeo balloons launched on Thursday and Friday afternoon, and were lucky enough to fly both days. This event was such a success that it created major traffic jams and produced huge crowds. Twenty-eight shapes participated in the first event and the Special Shape Rodeo was on solid ground. The Shape Rodeo grew each year with 35 shapes in 1990, 45 shapes in 1991, 62 shapes from eight countries in 1992 and a whopping 108 in 1996, the largest Special Shape Rodeo.

In 1993 the Special Shape Rodeo added a third flight that would take place Thursday morning and by 1998, Special Shapes were so popular that they were the only balloons to launch from the field on Thursday and Friday mornings and glow from the field on the same evenings– totaling  four events dedicated strictly to Special Shapes. The shapes glow has come to be called the Special Shape Glowdeo™.

Below are photos we took at the Special Shapes Rodeo on our last group tour to the balloon Fiesta in 2012

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Competition Tasks


  • Competitors find their own launch area at a minimum and maximum distance from the target and attempt to drop a marker close to a target set by the Balloon-Meister.  The target will be placed on the Launch Field


Description: after a pioneer in gas balloon racing, the GBM requires the competitor to drop a marker in a defined scoring area (often a geometric or unusual shape) adjacent to the defined goal. The target is generally outside of the scoring area. The objective is to drop the marker inside the defined or outlined scoring area (cactus shape in this example) as close as possible to the target. Markers dropping outside the scoring area, even if closer to the target, receive a no result



Return at your leisure to the hotel on one of the continuously running shuttles.  This afternoon, relax and enjoy the comfort of the hotel’s indoor pool, indoor Jacuzzi and the convenience of the indoor fitness center.

This evening, we will return to the Balloon Fiesta for the evening session festivities, via the convenient shuttle service.

Evening Session

6pm Special Shape Glowdeo – Walk amongst the unique special shape hot air balloons as they are lit up to glow against the setting sun in the sky. The mountains in the distance make a breathtaking backdrop, along with the setting sun for incredible photo opportunities.

7:45pm Laser Light Show- Another spectacle to watch

8pm AfterGlow Fireworks Show, presented in part by the Albuquerque Journal


Balloon Glows
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. The sight of balloons lit from within at night like giant holiday ornaments is breathtaking, and glow events are now held all over the world. Balloon Fiesta launched its Balloon Glow, the world's biggest, in 1987. Fiesta Glow all burns when all the balloons fire their burners and light up at the same time are perhaps the most spectacular single moment in all of Balloon Fiesta. The Balloon Glows followed by New Mexico's most spectacular fireworks displays - are now among Balloon Fiesta's most popular events
Walking amongst the giant hot air balloons glowing in the evening sky is a special and memorable experience.
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After Glow Fireworks
Description: Star-Fire.jpgSeeing the balloons glowing en mass is a great experience that gets greater with the afterglow fireworks. Be sure to bring chairs or blankets so you can sit and enjoy the spectacular

We will return to the hotel after the festivities via the convenient shuttle service.



FRI. OCTOBER 13th Today you can sleep in and we will enjoy a mid-morning excursion from our hotel taking us to visit the sites of Santa Fe, just one hour away, as well as to Petroglyph National Monument, located right in Albuquerque.  We will enjoy the morning at the national monument to explore its many unique petroglyphs and take short walks if you wish. 

A Landscape of Symbols - Petroglyph National Monument protects one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. These images are a valuable record of cultural expression and hold profound spiritual significance for contemporary Native Americans and for the descendants of the early Spanish settlers.

This afternoon we will enjoy free time in Santé Fe, the artsy capital of New Mexico with many old west style art galleries and boutiques.  The afternoon is at leisure to explore its many shops, galleries, as well as enjoy lunch at one of its old west style eateries.
We will return together to our hotel for the evening at leisure.

This evening, join us for a casual social in the indoor hot tub at our hotel.
Tonight, join us, if you wish, for an excursion to the nearby Sandia Casino Resort, where you can enjoy the many dining options as well as the casino games, before we return to our hotel.

Note: in the event of bad weather on Thursday morning, which forces the cancelation of the hot air balloon festivities that morning, Thursday morning’s visit to the Balloon Fiesta will be moved to Friday morning and Friday’s scheduled visit to Santa Fe and the Petroglyphs National Monument will be moved to Thursday. The events at the festival on Thursday and Friday mornings are the same and thus you will not miss anything in the event that bad weather forces us to reverse these two days’ visits. The same will hold true in the event of bad weather Thursday evening, we will move Thursday evening’s visit to the festival to Friday evening, as the festival events are the same on both Thursday evening and Friday evening.


Today is another day at the balloon fiesta.  It is a fun filled day with many new events and special activities to enjoy. 

The highlight this morning is the mass ascension hot air balloon launch, where all of the balloons, including the colorful traditional hot air balloons, along with the special shaped balloons, join together in the morning sky for a color filled extravaganza!  It is the largest launch of hot air balloons in the festival and the largest single day launch in the world!

Stay as long as you like and then return on one of the continuous shuttle busses.

This afternoon we will enjoy a music fest under the clear blue sky with both top name and local entertainers hitting the stage for an afternoon of outdoor concerts.
Bring a chair or a blanket and just relax and enjoy the music.  Plenty of refreshment stands are available all across the field. The show goes from 1-5pm, but you can arrive when you want and leave when you want on the convenient continuously running shuttle busses.

Tonight enjoy a Night Magic Balloon Glow at 6pm followed by another laser light show and then at 8pm enjoy another fabulous fireworks display.
There are plenty of concession booths to feed your appetite for food and souvenirs.

Saturday October 14 events schedule


Morning Session


Dawn Patrol Show, presented by Route 66 Casino Hotel & RV Resort


Laser Light Show


Krispy Kreme Morning Glow


Mass Balloon Ascension


Balloon Fiesta Pin Trading (Group Tour Tent north end of Main Street)




Afternoon/Evening Session


Music Fiesta – outdoors from 1-5pm.  Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and enjoy the music.


Night Magic™ Glow presented by Canon


Laser Light Show


After Glow Fireworks Show, presented in part by the Albuquerque


Mass Ascension
Description: Picks_0085.JPGMass Ascensions, a launch of all the participating balloons have been a feature of Balloon Fiesta since its earliest days and is the most spectacular display of sound and color in all of aviation. During mass ascensions, balloons launch in two waves. Launch directors, also known as zebras because of their black-and-white-striped outfits, serve as traffic cops, coordinating the launch so balloons leave the field in a safe and coordinated manner. Weather permitting, balloons begin to launch at about 7:15 AM on mass ascension days, led by a balloon flying the American flag to the strains of The Star Spangled Banner.



Balloon Glows
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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. The sight of balloons lit from within at night like giant holiday ornaments is breathtaking, and glow events are now held all over the world. Balloon Fiesta launched its Balloon Glow the world's biggest in 1987. Fiesta Glow all burns when all the balloons fire their burners and light up at the same time are perhaps the most spectacular single moment in all of Balloon Fiesta. The Balloon Glows followed by New Mexico's most spectacular fireworks displays - are now among Balloon Fiesta's most popular events.

8:00  *AfterGlow™Fireworks Show,  Presented in part by Albuquerque Journal


Also, if you wish, enjoy an optional balloon fiesta hot air balloon ride.

Imagine - Gliding across the sky in a hot air balloon during the special shapes rodeo!  You will be viewing the balloons from the most incredible perspective as you glide past and amongst each.  The ride lasts 1 hour from 7 to 8am during the Special shapes rodeo and is run by a professional, experienced hot air balloon pilot.  Each balloon takes between 4 and 14 passengers.  The cost is $395 per person and includes champagne and a certificate of your flight!

Passengers wishing to book a special ride in one of the hot air balloons during the morning launch on either  Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday can do so for prices starting at $395.  The ride lasts 1 hour and includes a champagne toast and a certificate of your flight.
Ask us for more details on booking this once in a lifetime special experience.


Sunday October 15th – If you wish, enjoy another Mass hot air balloon Ascension this morning at the Balloon Fiesta. 
The hotel offers airport transport free to the airport for your flight home.

Your trip includes

  • 4 nights accommodations at the Days Inn and suites  airport with hot breakfast daily.  Enjoy the hotel’s indoor pool, indoor Jacuzzi and fitness room as well as in room microwave and refrigerator, plus bathroom, complete with hairdryer.
  • Transport each morning and evening to the Balloon Fiesta on Thursday and Saturday
  • Admission to the Balloon Fiesta on Thursday and Saturday morning and evening sessions
  • Transport Saturday afternoon to the Music Fiesta (Music Fiesta tickets are additional at your choice of either $10 general admission or $20 preferred lawn seating)
  •  Excursion to Santa Fe and Petroglyphs National Monument on Friday
  • Excursion to Sandia Casino on Friday evening
  • Roommate assignment based on gender and smoking or non smoking preference


Trip cost: $ 999 per person plus $80 tax

Optional single room supplement: $449

A deposit of $300 is due within 7 days of making your trip reservation.  This is refundable if canceled June 30th.  Balance payments are due August 11th and are non refundable if canceled after that date.

Travel insurance is available. Ask for rates.


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