An ABQ Original…The International Balloon Fiesta

At Twisters, we take pride in our roots. Despite expanding as far as Colorado, our heart remains in Albuquerque. We got our start here in 1998 and there’s nowhere we’d rather call home. Our love for the local culture is immense, and we want to give a special shoutout to one of the city’s most iconic events-– the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

The Albuquerque Balloon International Balloon Fiesta is the largest balloon event in the world. What began as a small celebration has expanded into a hot air balloon extravaganza, featuring hundreds of balloons and dozens of events throughout the 9-day festival. It’s estimated that more than 25 million still photographs are taken of the Balloon Fiesta each year, making it the most photographed event in the world.

The Balloon Fiesta began in 1972, when members of the KOB news station planned what would be, at the time, the world’s largest balloon race to celebrate the station’s 50th anniversary. Due to outside factors like weather conditions, only 13 of the invited 21 balloons were present, controlled by pilots from all over the country. Over 10,000 spectators gathered at the Coronado Center Mall parking lot to watch the first incarnation of what would become an iconic Albuquerque tradition. The initial number of 13 balloons multiplied twentyfold in just 5 years, later swelling to over 1000 balloons registered for the event in 2000. Now, the Balloon Fiesta annually draws more than 800,000 people to watch the liftoff of 600 balloons. The festival celebrated its landmark 50th event in 2022.

Whether you’re watching the live stream at home or heading to Balloon Fiesta Park, why not pick up another Albuquerque classic? No matter where you’re coming from or what you’re craving, there’s something on the Twister’s menu for you. New to the ABQ? Try one of our green chile breakfast burritos for an unbeatable taste of New Mexico flavor.