ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Special shape balloons are some of the biggest stars of the Balloon Fiesta. This year’s 50th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will feature 118 special shape balloons with 19 new balloons from all over the world.

“We’re so excited to welcome back our international guests with some of these really cool special shapes from around the world,” says Sam Parks, the Director of Operations for Balloon Fiesta. 

Some of the new faces at this year’s Balloon Fiesta include an alien, a screwdriver, a toy car, a flying bus, and a flying saucer. It will also feature familiar favorites including, Pigasus, Darth Vader and Airabelle. The Special Shape Rodeo in the morning and Glowdeo in the evening will be Thursday, October 6, and Friday, October 7. A full list of special shape balloons can be found here.

“This is actually the Chinese year the tiger. So obviously, we got a new Tiger this year. But you know, coming back, we got Airabelle. The kids always love Airabelle. And she’s coming in from Canada, and also CHIC-I-BOOM, who has attended every special shape balloon festival that we’ve had from the very beginning,” says Parks. 

Balloon Fiesta says one of the benefits of COVID was it gave more time for engineers to design balloons. Sam Parks says you will see those attention to details up close and personal. 

“Some of the most unusual shapes you’ve ever seen, I think really COVID allowed people to stay in their in their design studios and their manufacturing facilities and come up with some really cool shapes. And now they’re ready to show them off to the world,” says Parks. 

Also, more balloonists are able to come from different countries this year because of relaxed travel restrictions. 

The 2022 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta runs from October 1 through the 9. For information on ticket packages and to purchase tickets visit