It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Albuquerque, but on Saturday morning, hundreds missed the Balloon Fiesta kick-off. They say the Park and Ride system is to blame. 

Officials admit a lot went wrong Saturday, but the plan is to have problems worked out for the remainder of Fiesta. 

“We have so many bad headlines,” says Maddie Millis. 
People who live in Albuquerque do not want Balloon Fiesta to become one of them.

“Balloon Fiesta is the one thing that sets us above elsewhere,” Millis says. 
On Saturday morning for the first mass ascension of the 47th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, hundreds were left waiting at park and ride stops around the city, like at Coronado Center, for buses that either never came or were too late. 

“About 10 minutes before mass ascension they informed us they weren’t going to take any more buses which was kind of a bummer,” Millis says. 
Balloon Fiesta officials say a lot slowed the buses down and they admit they need to speed up their turnaround time from the park to the pick-up locations. 

“There were at least four accidents on the interstate that backed things up, some of the bag checks at the site,” says AIBF spokesperson Tom Garrity. 
Garrity also says on the first day, new volunteers are learning the ropes and figuring out logistics. 

“We kind of learn from that first day and try to do better and that’s exactly what we are going to try to do,” Garrity says. 

“On their Facebook page, they deemed it as first day kinks. This festival has been going on for over 40 years,” Millis says. 
There were similar problems during last year’s event. At that time, officials said anxious drivers caused the back-up.
Those who missed Fiesta Saturday just want service to improve.

“As a tourism location or a place that we want to bring people from out of state for Albuquerque, this should run flawlessly,” Millis says. 

Officials say they have worked out all the issues and do not anticipate any backup Sunday.  

For those who missed the park and ride Saturday morning, you are encouraged to send an email to so you can get a refund or your ticket reactivated for another day.