ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s slated to be one of the busiest days of Balloon Fiesta this year, but thousands of people who’d normally hop on a bus to get to the park for some Thursday festivities will need a new option this year. 

Balloon Fiesta’s Special Shapes Rodeo almost always draws a big crowd, but this year, the rodeo’s Thursday events won’t have Park and Ride. 

“Thursdays are a very popular day out in Balloon Fiesta, it’s when we have our Special Shape Rodeo in the mornings,” said Tom Garrity, Balloon Fiesta spokesperson.  

For over 20 years, local school buses have helped thousands of people avoid the traffic jam. This year, it’s a different story.  

“That’s mainly because some of the scheduling conflicts that existed with Albuquerque Public Schools and the Rio Rancho Public Schools as a result of the calendar changing for this year to accommodate the federal holiday at the beginning of the week,” said Garrity.   

In years past, APS has given that school day off to students. 

This year all the high schools are still in session that Thursday, which means the buses can’t work those routes. 

“Without the APS being available or the Rio Rancho Public Schools’ buses, we are asking all of our visitors that come to the park to either carpool, ride share has its own unique location that we have been in contact with Uber and Lyft drivers, but of course, there is bike valet,” said Garrity. 

Depending on how that Thursday goes, they may make some shifts for the next Fiesta. 

This year Fiesta will use 150 buses for Coronado Center, Cottonwood Mall, and Hoffman Town Church will be open Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays. The intel site in Rio Rancho will only be open on weekends.