Courtesey of Fantastic Merlins
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m. While driving to Balloon Fiesta Park for the Dawn Patrol Show, flip on what Alibi readers voted as Best Local Radio Program, the University of New Mexico-run station KUNM 89.9 FM.
(kunm.org) * 5:45 to 7 a.m. Dawn Patrol Show presented by Rt. 66 Hotel Casino* 6:45 to 7:45 a.m. Opening Ceremonies * 7 to 8:30 a.m. Mass Ascension* 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ECHO Chainsaw Carving Championship* 2 to 6 p.m. America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race Inflation 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Unwind from the opening day's festivities at the Saints and Sinners Curvy Carnival, held at Exhale Bar & Grill (voted Best Lesbian Bar). Presented by the Brickhouse Betties, curves are queen at this LGBT event, which features a costume contest, booths, door prizes, acts, games, fluffy photography and more. Plus, all proceeds go to Albuquerque's Pornotopia Film Festival, put on each year by sexuality education and resource center Self Serve. ($5, 21+, 6132 Fourth Street NW, 342-0049, exhaleabq.com)* 6 to 7:30 p.m. Twilight Twinkle Glow™* 6 to 8 p.m. America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race Launch6 to 8 p.m. If you'd rather take a break from festival madness in a more tranquil environment, catch the opening reception for photographic series Grasslands and group exhibition Separating Species at 516 ARTS (tied for Best Art Gallery). In Grasslands, Michael P. Berman explores the Chihuahuan Desert while Separating Species focuses on animals, humans and the biosphere. If you don't catch the reception tonight, the shows will still run through the length of the Fiesta. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. (516 Central SW, 242-1445, 516arts.org)* 8 to 9 p.m. AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by the Albuquerque Journal 8 p.m. If the fireworks give you an itch for a pint, make your way to Marble Brewery, voted Best Local Brewery in Albuquerque by our readers. Knock back a Wildflower Wheat or One-Eleven Blonde on Marble's large, airy patio, where there’s live music every Saturday night with no cover charge. (21+, 111 Marble NW, 243-2793, marblebrewery.com)8 p.m. If you want to keep the kids entertained (or just want to entertain yourself), make a stop at the Rio Grande Community Farm's Maize Maze (aka Corn Maze). The six-foot-high maze is cut using GPS technology and takes up more than seven acres. This year, it's in the shape of a monarch butterfly. It's open on Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. But if you want to go tonight, it's open until 10 p.m. for a special "Moonlight Maze," where you can use the light of the full moon to navigate. ($7 adults, $3 children 4 to 11, free for kids under 4. 1701 Montaño NW, 345-4580, riograndefarm.org)10 p.m. Go hog wild at Sidewinders, tied for Best Gay Bar in Albuquerque, for its weekly Country and Western night. Don't forget to don your cowboy boots and chaps! (21+, 8900 Central SE, 275-1616, sidewindersranch.com)