ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s what makes Balloon Fiesta different from any other event in the world, the sheer number of balloons going up in one place at one time. The highly choreographed mass ascensions take a lot of planning a bit of luck.

Mass ascensions even in a pandemic world will go on like years past. People will still be able to get close to balloons and talk to pilots. However, this year they are setting up the field a little differently. “Ahead of Balloon Fiesta crews are busy setting up the more than 200 launch markers all across Balloon Fiesta field,” said Sam Parks, Balloon Fiesta director of operations. “While there are just as many launches as there always have been, this year they are trying something different and new to try and keep people more spread apart.”

Parks says they’ve also taken some of their iconic balloons and moved them to spaces they are not normally located. However, the special shape balloons and “zebras” will still be easy to spot.

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In 2019, the Balloon Fiesta broke a Guinness World Record. “We got the world record for putting 524 balloons in the air within that hour. So that was pretty awesome to be able to get that record,” said Parks.

He also says they are not going to try and break a world record this year since a lot of the pilots weren’t able to make it due to the pandemic travel restrictions. However, he says they will be taking another look at that in 2022.