Major changes could be coming to Balloon Fiesta Park. The city is looking at a Main Street makeover. Every year the tents go up on Main Street for the vendors. Now, there’s talk of a more permanent solution.
It’s Albuquerque’s biggest event. People from all around the world coming into town to take part in Balloon Fiesta.
“I have an overwhelming sense of awe when all of those balloons are going up around you,” said Albuquerque local and Balloon Fiesta fan, Stacie Gebeke.
While people mostly come for the balloons, they also make it to vendor row to get through the morning.
“It makes the early morning less painful,” said Gebeke.
To make the festivities even more enjoyable, the city wants to transform Main Street and vendor row.
“We have tents, which is fine, but it looks a little circusy,” said Balloon Fiesta Park facilities manager Susan Rice. “So it would look very professional, very uniform with the promenade.”
You heard it right, the city wants to turn Main Street’s vendor row into a promenade with permanent buildings and a Main Street made of stone or brick to highlight New Mexico or ballooning themes. Another idea is to add permanent archways on both ends of Main Street, welcoming you to vendor row.
“It would make a nice consistent look to vendors row,” said Rice.
However, this idea might conflict with what Balloon Fiesta wants. They too have their own vision for vendor row. In renderings, the vendors would keep working under the tents, but visitors could view the festival in a whole new way with a second story viewing deck above vendor row.
Balloon Fiesta said their idea could clash with what the city wants, but locals think either plan would be a game changer for visitors.
“I think it allows them to have more structure and you don’t have to worry about the wind as much,” said Gebeke.
Nothing is set in stone yet, these are all just ideas—and both the city and Balloon Fiesta said they could be years away.
While Balloon Fiesta pays some money to help maintain the park, the city owns it. There is a working master plan for the park that includes a new Main Street, paved parking lots, and they even proposed a hotel but that might get scrapped. The city doesn’t have the money to make it all happen yet.