Albuquerque, NM – Hot air balloon enthusiasts and novices alike will come together in joyful expectation as more than 500 balloons launch each morning in Albuquerque, New Mexico during the 39th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta ( From October 2nd – 10th, thousands of spectators will experience the amazement and wonder of the event themed “Earth, Wind and Flyers” for 2010.
More than 650 pilots will represent 17 countries and 39 states during the event that marks an annual pilgrimage for balloonists from around the globe. New Mexico is home to the largest number of balloon pilots and nearly 200 balloons. Pilots from around the world thrive in Albuquerque’s unique fall weather and take advantage of the “box” – a combination of upper and lower level winds created by the Rio Grande Valley and enhanced by the Sandia Mountains. The box enables balloonists to sometimes backtrack their flight path and land close to their launch site.

Ninety-one special shaped balloons are registered for the 2010 Fiesta including some of the newest balloons – The Stork, Waddles, Three Monkeys, Crazy Crab and Zebra. Special shapes are often the highlight of the week, especially for children who collect trading cards from their favorite balloons.

Residents of states outside of New Mexico may be surprised to see a balloon float past their home during the first week of October as the 15th America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race sends 18 pilots and nine gas balloons on a distance challenge. The event launches from Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque on Tuesday, October 5th with the challenge of flying the greatest distance, which often involves at least two days aloft and covers more than 1,000 miles across the country.
In addition to a spectacular feast for the eyes, Balloon Fiesta visitors are also treated to tempting tastes from around the Southwest. After the ballooning action is over, the city will be bustling with activity and events; visitors are encouraged to check out all that Albuquerque has to offer. Details are available at
Please note that hotels still have availability during Balloon Fiesta. For information on the event, visit and for details on visiting Albuquerque, visit

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Download images: http://www.ItsATrip.org (credit Ron Behrmann) or http://www.ItsATrip.org (credit Raymond Watt)

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