Sep 29 - Oct 5, 2011 
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Feature

Balloon Fiesta 2011

By Elise Kaplan

The breakfast burritos are warm. The air is crisp. And the coffee is strong enough to keep everyone awake for the Dawn Patrol. Saturday, Oct. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 9, hot-air balloon pilots will take to the skies for Albuquerque's most iconic event.

What’s New

In addition to New Mexican breakfast staples, this year’s concessions have a decidedly state-fair bentbacon dipped in chocolate and sausage on a stick dipped in pancake batter. And while eating foods dipped in other foods, you can watch up to 10 new balloons join more than 100 Special Shapes, including a Kiwi bird from New Zealand and a giant blue shark from Brazil.

Getting There and Getting In

Balloon Fiesta Park is at 4401 Alameda NE, one mile west of 1-25.

Tickets: Call (888) 422-7277 or visit balloonfiesta.com to get passes ahead of time. Each $8 advance ticket includes a complimentary entrance to the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum. Five-packs of advance tickets are also available for $35.

Or wait in line and pay $6 per person at the gate. Fiesta admission is always free to children under 12.

Parking: Onsite parking is $10.

If you’d rather not battle over parking spaces, a Park & Ride shuttle brings passengers from remote lots to the field on Thursday, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays. Park & Ride tickets include the shuttle service and fiesta admission.

Advance passes are $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 6 to 12, at balloonfiesta.com or the Balloon Fiesta Gift Shop.

Day-of passes will cost you $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 6 to 12. Be forewarned: The Park & Ride attendants do not accept cash. Bring a credit card.

Hitch a ride at:

Hoffmantown Church 8888 Harper NE, northeast lot

Cliff’s Amusement Park 4800 Osuna NE

Coronado Mall 6600 Menaul NE, southwest lot

Intel 1600 Rio Rancho Boulevard SE / Highway 528, southern lot

Sagebrush Community Church 6440 Coors NW

(no service Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings)

Sandia Area Federal Credit Union 6410 Coors NW, just west of Sagebrush

(Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings only)

Biking: For the intrepid traveler, a free bike valet will provide a safe and secure location for bicycles throughout the fiesta. Balloon Fiesta Park lies just east of the North Division Trail, and cyclists are encouraged to wear helmets and lights if traveling in the dark.

More information: Glean everything from GPS coordinates to when the Glowdeo starts by calling 821-1000 (the area code for Albuquerque and Santa Fe is 505) or toll-free (888) 422-7277, or visit balloonfiesta.com.

By Com[iled by Elise Kaplan
Saturday, Oct. 1

5:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
6:30 a.m. Krispy Kreme Morning Glow
6:45 a.m. Opening Ceremonies
7 a.m. Mass Ascension
2 p.m. America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race Inflation
5:45 p.m. Twilight Twinkle Glow
6 p.m. America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race Launch
8 p.m. AfterGlow Fireworks Show

Sunday, Oct. 2

5:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol Show
6:30 a.m. Krispy Kreme Morning Glow
7 a.m. Mass Ascension
9 a.m. Fiesta of Wheels Car Show
11 a.m. Balloon Fiesta Pin Trading (Balloon Discovery Center)
5:45 p.m. Balloon Glow
8 p.m. AfterGlow Fireworks Show

Monday, Oct. 3

5:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
7 a.m. Flying Competition―Sandia Resort & Casino $100,000 Challenge

Tuesday, Oct. 4

5:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
7 a.m. Sid Cutter Memorial Competition―Sandia Resort & Casino $100,000 Challenge

Wednesday, Oct. 5

5:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
6:30 a.m. Krispy Kreme Morning Glow
7 a.m. Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension Flying Competition

Thursday, Oct. 6

5:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
7 a.m. Special Shape Rodeo
8 a.m. Flying Competition―Sandia Resort & Casino $100,000 Challenge
5:45 p.m. Special Shape Glowdeo
8 p.m. AfterGlow Fireworks Show

Friday, Oct. 7

5:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
7 a.m. Special Shape Rodeo
8 a.m. Key Grab Competition―Sandia Resort & Casino $100,000 Challenge
5:45 p.m. Special Shape Glowdeo
8 p.m. AfterGlow Fireworks Show

Saturday, Oct. 8

5:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
6:30 a.m. Krispy Kreme Morning Glow
7 a.m. Mass Ascension
11 a.m. Balloon Fiesta Pin Trading (Balloon Discovery Center)
5:45 p.m. Night Magic Glow
8 p.m. AfterGlow Fireworks Show

Sunday, Oct. 9

5:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
6:30 a.m. Krispy Kreme Morning Glow
7 a.m. Farewell Mass Ascension


 
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