There are so many balloons at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta — more than 500, actually. So picking my favorites out of the bunch is almost harder than picking your favorite child. (Don’t look at me like that…you know you have a favorite kid.)
But there are a few balloons that every time I see them at the balloon fiesta, something inside me leaps for joy.
Y’all, I literally feel like a kid on Christmas morning during the first half of October. Balloons of all different shapes, and shades of the rainbow sprinkle our sky, making it it look magical almost every morning.
My favorite balloons at the Balloon Fiesta from over the years:
In case you can’t make it this year, here are some of my absolute favorite balloons from over the years—these are the ones (in no particular order) that take my excitement to a whole other level.
Okay, I lied. The bees are, hands down, my favorite balloons at the Balloon Fiesta.
Lilly, Joelly, and Joey Bee hail out of Arizona, and—when weather permits—the two “mom and dad” bees inflate with a smooch, then, as they lift off they turn and start holding hands. It’s truly a site to see. Their little “baby bee” is new to the scene as of a few years ago, and always floats nearby.
When Pigs Fly at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Does it get any better than seeing an “actual” pig fly?! Nope. This is another balloon that consistently brings a smile to my face. There were two flying pigs last year, and I’m crossing my fingers and toes at least one will appear in the air again.
Bonus: this particular balloon, “Ham-let” was AMAZING with letting us help it down. I love friendly pilots and chase crews, and this one was top notch.
Wells Fargo Cent’r Stage
Have you ever seen a stage coach fly? You can at the Balloon Fiesta.
This balloon is MASSIVE and is a spectacular thing to see flying. The conditions often have to be just right to get it up, up, up in the air.
Star Wars Balloons
I’m not sure when these hit the Balloon Fiesta scene, but—needless to say—they’re a huge hit!
Master Yoda and the Darth Vader ballon hail from Belgium, and they come with their own security: Storm Troopers!
I’ve gotta tell you: seeing Darth Vader float in the sky while you drive around is literally one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced.
Before you think that the only cool balloons out there are special shapes, think again.
I love seeing colorful classic hot air balloons dot the sky.
There are so many different designs and color combos, that no two balloons are the same.
“Kermie” makes me smile every year. It’s just a fun, vibrant balloon (coming from Colorado), that looks fantastic against the blue Albuquerque sky.
The Balloon of Balloons
I liked this balloon even before we helped chase it last year.
I not-so-secretly call it the “Balloon of Balloons,” but it’s official name is “Balloonaful Sunrise,” and it’s from Arizona.
The Original Hunter Boots Balloon
When I realized that this was a Hunter Boot floating in the air I sort of freaked out. It was MASSIVE. Seriously, quite possibly the biggest balloon I’ve ever seen.
It’s footprint (ha!), was bigger than an entire house, and my jaw literally hung wide open as I watched it come down.
It’s from the UK, and sadly I haven’t seen any notice of it coming back this year. I’m just thankful we were in the right place at the right time to see it land one day.
A Floating Cow
New Mexicans will probably spot Airabelle a mile away and know exactly who “she” is.
She’s the Creamland cow—the local dairy providing milk to the area since 1937, and watching her inflate, and lift off will make you cheer and go a little crazy with excitement.
New Mexico Balloons
Maybe it’s because I move away too often, or maybe because I was born here, and this is—quite literally—my favorite time of year, but any time I see something representing New Mexico, my heart just swells with pride.
I love seeing “New Mexico” written across a balloon, or seeing the zia symbol plastered on top or on the side of one. It reminds me how remarkable this event truly is, and how special it is for our city and state.
Which balloon at the balloon fiesta is your favorite
Which one of these would you love to see up close….or far away as it floats through the skhy? Or if you’ve been to the balloon fiesta, which one is your favorite?