At the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, you can get squeezed if you’re not paying attention during a mass ascension. With 208 launch sites side by side at the airfield, there’s little room between balloons as they are being inflated. On the other hand, you get a close up view of the action and great pictures!

Morning ascensions start right before daybreak with the Dawn Patrol lighting up the dark mornings with a limited number of brilliant balloon color liftoffs. After daybreak, ascensions are either “mass ascensions” which include ALL Hot Air Balloons or “Special Shape Rodeos” which are limited to balloons with special or unique shapes.  Balloonists truck their balloon in while it’s still dark and begin inflating when the go ahead is given from the airfield tower. For mass ascensions of over 500 balloons at Fiesta, it takes 2 or 3 different time waves to launch all of the balloons in the 208 launch sites!

Regardless of the type of ascension, being amidst the launch of hundreds of balloons and seeing the sky full of them on the horizon is truly a spectacle to behold !

You can get more details and unique TIPS of what to do and how to make best use of your time at Fiesta by purchasing a Fun Excursions in a Box Fiesta Guide at