I tried to submit my review of the Albuquerque Balloon Festival but it is not listed for me to do that so the best I can do is post my information here and hope it helps others who plan to visit. This is an annual event in Albuquerque. Some even say it is the largest in the South. This has been on my bucket list for I don't know how long and I finally got to go with some delay. The event is based on the winds, anything over 10 miles per hour and there is questions as to whether or not balloons can go up. And then you have to be prepared for un-expected things that happen beyond your control. The first day of the event got cancelled because the winds were to strong. Before going here are some helpful tips:
1. try and purchase your entry passes on lines-it will help when you get to the entry gates
2. if you are staying at hotels in the area be prepared to get up and drive to the fairgrounds (like at 4:30am). I know it sounds stupid but if you want to see all the balloons being blown up and see them take off this is why. You will either be sitting or standing (more standing then sitting as seating is limited umless you bring your own folding chairs)
3. if it is a chilly morning, make sure you have warm clothes on, you can always take them off if it gets warm
4. Bring a camera, this definitely is an even you want to remember
5. If you travel by car, depending on which direction you are going when you see the long lines of cars waiting to get off at exit 232 (if i remember correctly) you know you are at the right exit.
6. check with your hotel, they may offer shuttle service to the closest mall where you can pay to have another shuttle take you over tot he fairgrounds for a $20 fee per person. (to me it was cheaper to drive the car as i didn't wait that long to get tot he parking area)
7. remember where you park because there is so many people there
8. if you decide to go -the event is held the first week of Oct-book your hotel a year in advance as prices get expensive at it closest to the event. The reservations can always be cancelled if for some reason you can not make it.
9. After the balloon rise, don't forget to check out the wood craving contest that is done. It is awesome to watch cravings being done in a matter of 90 minutes. The items are then raffled off for a good cause.
10. Don't forget to check out all the tents that are selling the "arts" of the talented people from Albuquerque.
It's an memorable time and one worth considering