ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque officials announced how the city is planning to bring hot air balloons back to the skies as the Balloon Fiesta has been canceled this year due to the pandemic.
“Fall in Albuquerque is typically marked by a few things without fail – the smell of green chile roasting, a refreshing crispness in the air after a long hot summer, and hot air balloons at Balloon Fiesta,” said Mayor Keller. “Like this summer, this fall is going to look and feel a little different around Albuquerque with the postponement of this year’s Fiesta. But we’re stepping up to host some fun ballooning events in a safe way to try to bring a little bit of normalcy back to our city.”
This year, small groups of balloons will launch from city parks at 7:30 a.m. on the mornings of October 3, 4, 7, 10, and 11. The city says no spectators will be allowed at the launch locations. Balloons will also be widely spaced, and crews will be limited to five people.
Mayor Keller says there is a shortlist but not a final list of preferred launch locations. Top spots include Balloon Fiesta Park, North Domingo Baca Park in the heights, and Mariposa Basin Park along with Ventana Ranch Park on the westside.
In addition to the pre-planned launches, the Parks and Recreation Department is also making Balloon Fiesta Park available the first week of October to balloonists who would like to launch from the park. No spectators will be allowed at the park, however, the goal is to fill the sky with balloons to help New Mexicans celebrate the tradition in a safe way.
Out of state pilots are allowed but Keller says no exceptions will be made to the public health order and quarantine and testing requirements apply to everyone. The city says APD will be patrolling the launch sites to make sure there are no traffic problems or any people violating the governor’s public health order.
Balloonists interested in launching from Balloon Fiesta Park should contact John Fitzpatrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.