ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico’s biggest event is back. Despite the pandemic, the 2021 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will be almost completely back to normal. More than 600 balloons are already signed up to fly in this fall’s fiesta and organizers say only two features will not be happening this year.

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“We won’t have a music fiesta… that’s been the county music concert that we’ve had the second Saturday of Balloon Fiesta for the past eight or nine years and the Balloon Discovery Center which is the primarily children’s interactive indoor area at the north end of the park, won’t be here this year,” said Paul Smith, executive director for the Balloon Fiesta.

Aside from those two tweaks, Balloon Fiesta will run like the fiesta we all remember. Mass ascensions will happen as normal during the nine-day event in October, balloon glows and fireworks will still be happening too. As of right now, there will be no capacity restrictions or any COVID-related rules.

There will not be any social distancing and you’ll still be able to roam around the massive Balloon Fiesta Park field as you please, though organizers are trying a new strategy to spread people out a bit. “If you have concerns about being in large groups of people, we’re spreading some of our most popular balloons around Balloon Fiesta Park to try to encourage more people to go to various other locations that may be less crowded,” said Smith.

Organizers recommend that unvaccinated people wear a mask but there will not be any proof of vaccination required. There will not be any temperature checks at the gate. The vendor row will be back in full force and each booth will have touchless payment options for people who do want to limit contact. Tickets for Balloon Fiesta, which runs from October 2 through October 10, went on sale July 2.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit