From October 5-13, 2013, the 42nd Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place at the Balloon Fiesta Park, just a tad north of Albuquerque and located north of Alameda Boulevard, one mile west of I-25. During this time, just about everything regarding the science and art of hot air ballooning can be explored and even experienced, from watching the Early Dawn Patrol to closing ceremonies that feature a Farewell Mass Ascension.
It is estimated that over 100,000 people attend the events, with many participants as well as spectators coming from around the world. (In 2012, about 550 pilots came from 19 countries that included the likes of Brazil, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, and France.) However, because this is an extremely popular fiesta, it is best to arrive at the park by 4:30-5:00 am for weekend events. For evening events, it is best to be at the park by 4 pm. Be sure to take your camera and a jacket for cool Albuquerque mornings. As for breakfast, plan on buying a cup of java and a famous New Mexico breakfast burrito while at the park.