Save The Date

Join us October 5-13, 2024 for the 52nd Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta powered by ExxonMobil in Albuquerque, New Mexico. More information available at

Balloon Fiesta Insider

Just 142 days until the 52nd Balloon Fiesta launches!

As you prepare for your trip to Balloon Fiesta Park, avoid the congested traffic and parking conditions by using our Fiesta Express Park and Ride option available for weekend events as well as Thursday and Friday of Balloon Fiesta week.


Four convenient locations are available for our guests to park their car and ride the bus to Balloon Fiesta Park. The 2024 locations include Cottonwood Mall, Coronado Center, Hoffmantown Church, and Intel (weekends only). Park and Ride tickets include transportation and admission for a specific session. Pricing starts at $25 for adults, $13 for children (6-12) and children 5 and under are free.


  • Morning Sessions – Each park and ride location will have two waves of shuttles to Balloon Fiesta Park loading approximately at 4:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. for morning sessions. Buses will start return service to the park and ride locations at 8:00 a.m. and will run until approximately 11:30 a.m.
  • Afternoon/Evening Sessions – Each park and ride location will have two waves of shuttles to Balloon Fiesta Park loading approximately at 3:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. for afternoon sessions. Buses will start return service to the park and ride locations at 7:00 p.m. and will run until about 10:00 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Merchandise Update

New collector's items have made their way to Balloon Fiesta’s Gift Shop, including the first of the collectible pins and patches for 2024!


This year’s event pin features rich jewel-tone colors with the balloons showcasing a glitter effect. At the bottom of the pin is the Embrace the Sky text along with Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The event patch is a traditional 4-inch round shape featuring a silhouette of balloons against our beautiful Albuquerque landscape.  


These pins and patches are just the first of this collection, you’ll want the full set to add your own unique Balloon Fiesta flair to jackets and bags! Be sure to visit our online shop, or Balloon Fiesta’s Gift shop at 4401 Alameda Blvd NE, to secure the rest of the collection when released in the upcoming months.

Note: Due to the sheer number of pin quantities produced by Balloon Fiesta each year, when they arrive, we split the inventory into multiple locations including our physical gift shop, online shop, and all locations pins are sold onsite at the event. This assures we have stock available at every location. If you are a collector or interested in making sure you have any of this year’s pins, order them as soon as possible to ensure you obtain the ones you want for your collection.

To be the first to know about new items, sales, and other Balloon Fiesta Stuff, make sure you are subscribed to What’s Up Wednesday.

Faces of Fiesta

Name: Ken Tuley

Title: Video Producer, Executive Producer/Host of Balloon Fiesta Live!, and Photographer Coordinator 

Years with Balloon Fiesta: I started with Balloon Fiesta in 1982. I was the News Director at KQEO/KZZX and recorded a public affairs radio show with John Davis and Charlotte Kinney (AIBF President and BalloonMeister) on the Thursday before the event. On Friday, I parted ways with the radio stations and immediately went out to Balloon Fiesta Park, found John, and said “put me to work”. I’ve been involved every year since. I’ve moved around, spent many years on the Media Committee, was the media liaison for the first 2 America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Events, managed the Gondola Club for a couple of years, worked on the Scoring team a number of years, and even flew my balloon, Damn I’m Good, during the early 1990s. Fast forward 20 years, after a career in Technology at Albuquerque Public Schools, I added the task of producing and editing of the videos we use to train our Navigators. In 2016, I got a call asking if I could fill in as an announcer for Tom Rutherford for a few sessions. I think I did 9 of the 14 sessions that year. In 2017, after 35 years of volunteering, I was selected to be the full-time replacement for Rutherford. That led to bringing in cameras and starting a live stream that we called Balloon Fiesta Live! I still refer to that first year as a proof-of-concept or a pilot year. We learned so much about how to do a live play-by-play stream of 14 sessions of Balloon Fiesta. I usually tell people, come out to Balloon Fiesta and enjoy, then go home and watch Balloon Fiesta Live! to see what you missed. Other things you’ll find me doing for Balloon Fiesta throughout the year include managing the Pilot Application Database, selecting and managing the team of Official Photographers for each Balloon Fiesta, writing, recording, and editing videos for our Official calendars, Navigator training and Pilot briefings, creating the soundtrack for the drone shows, managing the Collector’s Corner section of the Balloon Fiesta website, which includes photographing or scanning all of the programs, calendars, bumper stickers and the hundreds of pins we produce every year, and providing technical assistance to our merchandise team, which includes writing the weekly email blog, What’s Up Wednesday. And remember, this is my retirement job!

Overview/Bio: I moved to Albuquerque in August 1976 after graduating from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. I spent 5 years teaching Band and Music at Kennedy Middle School, then moved into Radio/Television for 9 years. I returned to Albuquerque Public Schools as a teacher, Director of Learning Technologies, and Assistant Principal at Manzano before retiring from “full-time” work in 2014. I started crewing for balloons in 1984 and obtained my private pilot certificate and balloon in 1989. I gave up flying balloons in 1995 when our balloon wore out. However, I did resume my flying activities in early 2015 after reconnecting with Barbara Fricke and Peter Cuneo, and their balloons! I have to say a big Thank You to them for so generously sharing their balloons with me and giving me an opportunity to take to the skies on a regular basis.

Rapid fire with Ken:

Time your Day Starts during Balloon Fiesta: I’m on the rooftop studio by 4:30 every morning, getting the heaters lit, connecting with the production team, and the great Navigators that are an important part of the Balloon Fiesta Live! Team. A quick bite to eat before it’s time to connect with the audio and drone teams to coordinate the launching of the drone show, check in with Dawn Patrol to determine their plan for the morning, and then it’s time to verify the streams are up and running on both Facebook and YouTube and right as the clock strikes 6 am, we’re on the air, where we’ll remain until the balloons stop flying for the morning. During the show, in addition to being on the air, I’m monitoring the YouTube comments, responding either online or on-air, monitoring the officials’ radio to coordinate the launch of the balloon with the National Anthem and our announcements, and the pilots’ radio to stay up to date on the information being given to pilots. Of course, as the Executive Producer, I'm also in constant back-channel communication with our show director about the content of the show. For evening sessions, I’m back on the roof by 4 pm, where I coordinate the Team Fastrax jump complete with live helmet camera feed, national anthem, and of course, call the “All-burns” and flicker burns, on the stream, PA, and pilots’ radio so everyone can hear the instructions. Then it’s time to launch the drone show, again coordinating the audio and drones start. Then once the fireworks begin, I can pack up, debrief on the show, and head out to get a few winks of sleep before it all starts again.


Favorite Spot on the Field to Watch the Balloons: There’s not really a bad spot to watch balloons from the field, but I have to say our rooftop studio, at the South End of the field, is pretty cool as normally the balloons head south, right over the top of us. Of course, being in the competition area, near the target provides a similar view. Competition days are actually my favorite days because, in addition to having a mass ascension of the non-competing pilots flying out of the field, you have a mass ascension in reverse as all the competitors are trying to get to the same place on the field. My third favorite spot, which I don’t have an opportunity to experience, is right in the middle of the field during a Balloon Glow. I was on the crownline of a balloon for the very first all-burn at the first Balloon Glow back in 1987…and even now, nearly 40 years later that sound, light, and rush of power from the burners is an incredible feeling, not to be missed.

Current Favorite Special Shape Balloon: There’s an old joke among balloon folks that there are no ugly balloons, some are just prettier than others. And I have to say that’s how I feel about Special Shape Balloons. My current favorite is the one I’m looking at, at that moment. While it’s great to see what new creations debut every year, having those old favorites return is just as exciting.

Inside the Basket

Special Shape Balloons are often guest favorites at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.


In this month’s Inside the Basket, long-time pilot and Albuquerque local, Doug Gantt, owner of the balloon Ham-Let, the World’s Largest Flying Pig tells us more about his ballooning career and provides advice for those looking to become a pilot.

May in Ballooning

On May 25, 2011, Wilhelm Eimers broke the duration world record for AA-02 type balloons. He launched from Gladbeck, Germany in a 250-400m3 gas balloon and flew a total of 23 hours, 18 minutes, and 30 seconds before landing in Steinfurt Germany. This record still stands today. Read more about this feature here.


Willi and his son Benjamin were copilots in the 2023 Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett, the FAI World Long Distance Gas Balloon Championship, that launched from Balloon Fiesta Park last October.

May Photo-of-the-Month

We have received some beautiful pictures of the 51st event, submitted through the Cindy Petrehn Memorial Photo Contest! Below is the Mass Ascension Category Third Place Winner, Kevin Mak.  

Do you have a Balloon Fiesta photo of which you’re proud? 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

As the official destination marketing organization for the city, Visit Albuquerque promotes leisure travel and attracts meetings and sporting events to Albuquerque. Its mission is to raise awareness of the destination, inspire travelers to learn more and start planning a trip, and provide information about activities, attractions and events. Visit Albuquerque is the Official Visitors Sponsor of the Balloon Fiesta and additionally sponsors the Balloon Fiesta mobile app and the media tent. Visit Albuquerque has a presence on the field with their “Red or Green?” balloon, a half-red, half-green chile design that celebrates our state question. They also operate a visitor information booth on Main Street where guests can chat with local experts about things to do around the city and pose for a free souvenir photo in our life-size picture frame. As a visitor service, Visit Albuquerque distributes a printed City Guide that provides an overview of Albuquerque’s neighborhoods, history, and attractions. Each guide includes coupons for discounts at local retail shops, restaurants and more. Visit Albuquerque is proud to be a longtime supporter of this signature event, which is an important economic driver for our city’s hospitality industry and raises awareness of our city and state worldwide. They love welcoming people from around the world to Albuquerque to share the magic of Balloon Fiesta. We thank them for their support.

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.