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How it Started

From a small gathering of 13 balloons in 1972, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has grown khổng lồ become the largest balloon sự kiện in the world.

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Held each year during the first week in October, the Balloon Fiesta now featuresabout 600 balloons and 700pilots. The first gathering of 13 balloons in 1972 was held in the parking lot of Coronado Center Mall in Albuquerque. The following year, 13 countries took part in the "First World Hot Air Balloon Championship", the world"s largest ballooning event, held at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. By 1978 Albuquerque was playing host lớn 273 entries. The number of balloons steadily increased, with 600 in 1988 and 903 balloons in 1999. The organizers of the Balloon Fiesta registered more than 1000 balloons in the year 2000. Due to lớn shrinking landing site availability, the number of hot air balloons is now limited. In 1972 there were about 10,000 guests that viewed the first Balloon Fiesta. Hundreds of thousands of guests visit Balloon Fiesta each year, and hundreds of thousands more fans watch the balloons from outlying areas và on TV. New in 2017, fans around the world can now watch the sự kiện online via Balloon Fiesta Live!, a professionally-produced live stream, with expert commentary, of all the flying events.

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Lớn accommodate the increases in balloons và guests, the Balloon Fiesta’s trang chủ field has grown from a corner in a mall parking lot, lớn its present home, a permanent site that is more than 350 acres. The Balloon Fiesta has not only grown in numbers of balloons and guests but in the number of chất lượng events as well. In addition lớn the spectacular Mass Ascensions, the Balloon Fiesta has added the annual Balloon Glow, the Night Magic Glow™, & the Special Shape Rodeo™. These additions have grown lớn become guest favorites. To preserve the magic of these spectacular events, it is estimated that more than 25 million still photographs are taken of the Balloon Fiesta, repeatedly earning it the title “the world’s most photographed event.” Gas balloons became part of the Balloon Fiesta in 1981. In 1993, và again in 1999, AIBF hosted the annual Coupe de Gordon Bennett, the world"s oldest and most prestigious gas balloon race that dates back to 1912. In 1994, The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta hosted the 8th World Gas Balloon Championship and in 1995, Balloon Fiesta launched America"s Challenge Gas Balloon Race, a distance race that dates back to 1912.

The genesis of the 1st balloon Fiesta occurred while planning the KOB 50th Anniversary tiệc ngọt the following spring, Susan Johnson, then promotional director for the station, was looking for a centerpiece of her own to lớn celebrate this important birthday for the station. She found Sid Cutter flying the "club" balloon which had been purchased by the founders of the Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association (now the largest local balloon club in the world). The relationship between KOB & Sid Cutter was cemented và the idea of a balloon race began khổng lồ take shape. With very little time, but an enormous wealth of enthusiasm, Sid Cutter, Don, and Mike Draper and Tom Rutherford of KOB, mix about putting together the largest balloon race in the world at that time, and invited 21 balloons to attend the event. Last-minute cancellations and a miserable storm in the Midwest limited the participants khổng lồ 13 balloons, but each và everyone was given red carpet treatment & put on a show for some 10,000-20,000 spectators that Albuquerque would never forget. The pilots came from Arizona, California, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and Texas & they left with the impression that Albuquerque was a wonderful place to fly & that it had about the most hospitable bunch of people you"d ever want lớn find.

Milestones 1972- 13 balloons gather at Coronado Center lớn celebrate KOB’s 50th Anniversary 1973- Albuquerque hosts the First World Hot Air Balloon Championship at the Fairgrounds 1975- event moves from February lớn October & from Fairgrounds khổng lồ Simms Field 1976- AIBF Incorporates as a non-profit 1978- First KeyGrab competition 1979- Number of balloons tops 300 1980- First appearance of Parachutists 1981- First Gas Balloon race, Cutter Field is a new launch area 1984- Park N Ride begins (Coronado only) 1986- Fiesta Park (Alameda và Paseo del Norte) launch site with snow on the last day 1987- First Balloon Glow 1988- Last Fiesta Gas Balloon Race, number of hot air balloons-600 1989- First Special Shapes Rodeo 1992- Kodak becomes title sponsor at 21st Balloon Fiesta 1993- 37th Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race 1994-8th World Gas Balloon Championship 1995- First America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race 1996- 25th Balloon Fiesta, First Dawn Patrol Show, Sivage Thomas “House Grab” move lớn current Balloon Fiesta Park field 1997- First Flight of Nations và Night Magic Glow 1999- 43rd Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race 2000- 1019 balloons registered, a launch record 2001- NM Challenge event, last year for Kodak as title sponsor, launch field is completely grassed, President’s compound RV lot becomes available khổng lồ the public 2002- Admission raised khổng lồ $5, parking is also $5 2003- Gondola Club created, Holiday Fiesta sự kiện 2004- First Fiesta Challenge, 2nd & last year for Holiday Fiesta 2005- 49th Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race, Albuquerque Aloft begins 2006- Posters produced by AIBF instead of Procreations, last Fiesta Challenge, Chain Saw Carving begins 2008- 52nd Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race 2009- Chaser’s Club created, group tours operation comes in-house 2011- Founder Sid Cutter passes away 2014- First Music Fiesta after years of different artist performances, Sid Cutter Pilots’ Pavilion opens 2017- Balloon Fiesta Live!premiers as alive stream of the entire event 2018- Drone footage part of Balloon Fiesta Live! and kinh doanh program 2020- Entire Balloon Fiesta Postponed due lớn Public Health concerns

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