Save The Date

Join us October 7-15, 2023, for the 51st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta powered by ExxonMobil in Albuquerque, New Mexico. More information will become available at in the coming weeks. Plan ahead - The 52nd Balloon Fiesta is scheduled to take place October 5-13, 2024.

Balloon Fiesta Insider

Since our first event in 1972, Balloon Fiesta has grown year after year to now be recognized as the world’s largest hot air ballooning event. Planning for pilots, guests and volunteers from around the world to join us every October in Albuquerque is a year-round job that our team sees as an honor. As our 24-person volunteer board of directors and staff of 20 works toward the 51st event, we’d like to share some exciting “behind the scenes” news.

Executive Director Paul Smith Announces Retirement

Paul Smith, executive director, joined the Balloon Fiesta team in 1997 and will retire at the end of January. Paul’s leadership has pushed the event through many different changes and achievements. He will continue to be a familiar face to the organization and as a hot air balloon pilot. To read more about Paul’s Balloon Fiesta journey, visit our website

Sam Parks to become Executive Director

Sam Parks, Balloon Fiesta director of operations and former longtime balloonmeister, will take over the role as executive director. Sam has a long history with Balloon Fiesta and we look forward to experiencing Balloon Fiesta’s future under his leadership. Other promotions that call for notice are our new event director, Jennifer Garcia, and Taylor Caldwell who will be our new pilot coordinator.

Judy Nakamura named President of the Balloon Fiesta Board of Directors

Our board of directors welcomes new officers, President Judith Nakamura, Vice President Neil Jackson, Secretary Mark Sullivan and returning Treasurer Dick Rice. New to the board of directors is Tania Armenta and Peg Billson. To read more about board and staff announcements, visit our website.

Merchandise Update

Did you know you can get weekly updates on Balloon Fiesta merchandise? By signing up for What’s Up Wednesdays, you’ll get a weekly email with the latest news on all things merchandise, including insight on discounts and sales and new merchandise. To sign up, visit and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Inside the Basket

As a former chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court and longtime balloonist, Judith Nakamura, has a history with and strong commitment to New Mexico.

In this month’s Inside the Basket, she shares more about her Balloon Fiesta story and plans as she takes on the role of president of the Balloon Fiesta Board of Directors.

January in Ballooning

On November 22, 2022, Alicia Hempleman-Adams set two hot air ballooning world records during a single solo flight across Calgary province and into Saskatchewan in Canada. Alicia had been in the air for 7 hours, 40 minutes, and 30 seconds breaking the previous duration female world record for an AX4 class balloon by almost 15 minutes. Along with the duration world record, she set a new world record for distance by going 303 km, nearly doubling the previous record. Alicia now holds a total of three world records. More information about these accomplishments can be found, here:

January Photo-of-the-Month

We have received some beautiful pictures of the 50th event. This stunner of the launch field was posted to our Facebook page by Dennis Maestas.

Do you have a Balloon Fiesta photo that you’re proud of? Share your favorite Balloon Fiesta image on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag our page for a chance to be featured in next month’s newsletter!

Read all about it

Check out the latest media coverage about Balloon Fiesta

Sponsor Spotlight

KOB Radio, part of Cumulus Media has been a part of every Balloon Fiesta since the very beginning in 1972. The first Balloon Fiesta event was actually, in part, a celebration of KOB Radio’s 50th anniversary. As an official Balloon Fiesta Sponsor, Cumulus’ 96.3 News Radio station broadcasts live from Balloon Fiesta Park, giving listeners a firsthand account of traffic, weather and other happenings near and at Balloon Fiesta Park. The Cumulus team says being a sponsor of and major participant in Balloon Fiesta remains a special experience for its team members year after year.

For a complete list of Balloon Fiesta sponsors, click here.

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 Official e-newsletter of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, powered by ExxonMobil.