There may be a brief delay in room readiness as the hotel is usually full all during the event. (Please note that this is a preliminary itinerary and may be subject to change. It is possible that some Balloon Fiesta activities may be cancelled due to inclement weather and wind speed. We will make every effort to provide alternate activities should that be the case.)Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room from 6:00 to 7:00 PMEvening: Program orientation and introductions in hotel meeting room from 7:00 to 8:00 PMLodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Dinner
Known as "Sky City" because of its location atop a 400' mesa, the pueblo has a fascinating history.
The pueblo was established at or near its present location as early as A.D. 900. The first non-Native to enter Sky City was Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, in 1540. The pueblo was virtually decimated by Don Juan de Onate in 1599. The Spanish hacked off one foot each from all Acoma males older than twenty-five years of age, and sent the younger males and females to Mexico as slaves.
The injustice of this tragedy still burns in the hearts of the people of Acoma. Guides at the pueblo today will mention that, in the years following their capitulation, the people of Acoma occasionally rose up and gave offending Catholic priests "flying lessons" off the mesa.
In 1982, Acoma became one of the first pueblos to establish a casino-hotel complex.
Most residents live off the mesa, and only thirty or so people reside full time in Sky City.
It is an artistic community and is a primary Pueblo pottery center. You'll see the visitors' center, then take a bus to the top of the mesa, where you'll have a Native-American guided field trip through Acoma Pueblo.
Bus returns to Albuquerque at 4:30 PM.Dinner: Dinner at the hotelEvening: Free evening. (There are no activities scheduled at Balloon Fiesta Park this evening.)Lodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Dawn Patrol ballons go up every morning to test the winds aloft, prior to allowing other balloons to fly. After they give the okay, the morning flights begin.
At 7:00 AM, the Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension begins.
The "international" part of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been a tradition since the event's earlies days.
In 1973 and 1975, the Balloon Fiesta hosted the World Hot-Air Balloon Championships.
The Balloon Fiesta has also played host to the world's two most prestigious gas ballooning events, the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett (twice, in 1993 and 1999) and the World Gas Ballooning Championships (1994).
The Flight of the Nations especially honors pilots from all the nations participating in Balloon Fiesta.
The Wednesday mass ascension begins with flights by representatitve pilots from each country, who launch as their country's national anthem is played, flying their national flag.
Mass Ascensions - a launch of all the participating balloons - have been a feature of Balloon Fiesta since its earliest days and is the most spectacular display of sound and color in all of aviation.
During mass ascensions, balloons launch in two waves. Launch directors, known as "zebras" because of their black-and-white-striped outfits, serve as "traffic cops," coordinating the launch so balloons leave the field in a safe and coordinated manner.
Weather permitting, balloons begin to launch at about 7:15 am on mass ascension days, led by a balloon flying the American flag to the strains of "The Star Spangled Banner."
From 9:00-10:00 AM, you'll visit the AAA International Balloon Museum, located at Balloon Fiesta Park. Return to hotel about 10:00 AM, where you'll have some free time before lunch.Lunch: Lunch at the hotelAfternoon: Bus departs at 1:00 PM for visits to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the Boca Negra petroglyphs.Dinner: Dinner at a selected restaurantEvening: Bus returns to the hotel around 7:00 PM.Lodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Meet in hotel lobby at 4:45 PM for a trip to Balloon Fiesta Park.Dinner: Dinner will be on your own at the Balloon Park; you can choose what you'd like for dinner (there are lots of options!)Evening: At 5:45 pm, the Special Shape Glowdeo begins.
Special shape balloons are defined as any balloon that doesn't conform strictly to the normal rounded balloon shapes.
Some shapes are simple - pointed ears and whiskers added to a "regular" balloon to make it into a kitty's head. Others - the flying houses, cars, cacti, chili ristras, bottles, cans, critters, and so on - are computer-designed engineering marvels costing tons of money.
The very first shapes appeared at Balloon Fiesta in the 1970s, and became increasingly common - and crowd favorites - in the 1980s.
In 1989, the Balloon Fiesta created the Special Shapes Rodeo to specially showcase these incredible creations.
The Special Shape Glowdeo features these fabulous balloons - pilots fire their burners and light up at the same time.
These are, perhaps, the most beautiful single moments in all of Balloon Fiesta.
The Glowdeo will be followed by the AfterGlow Fireworks Show, one of New Mexico's most spectacular fireworks display.
Bus returns to hotel around 9:00 PM.Lodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
The Key Grab is a way for balloonists to win great prizes. And it's easy!
Simple, right? Wrong!
In getting to the field, you have to successfully navigate among the other 700 balloons heading for the same spot, not break any rules, and use the winds to get to the key pole, at the right altitude, at the right time.
And you have to grab the keys on the pole with your hands - no hooks, please!
Despite the difficulties, the Balloon Fiesta has given away a lot of incredible prizes such as cash and vehicles since the event began in 1978. For spectators, this is one of Balloon Fiesta's most watchable - and exciting - events. Return to the hotel by 10:00 AM to rest a while before lunch.Lunch: Bus departs at 11:30 AM for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes (12:00 - 1:00 PM)Afternoon: Class from 2:00 to 4:30 PM on New Mexico's wines, wineries and cuisine, followed by some free time from 4:30 - 6:00 PMDinner: Dinner and closing comments in the hotel dining room at 6:00 - 8:00 PMLodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel offers free shuttle service to Albuquerque International Sunport.
Checkout time is 12:00 noon.Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in hotel dining room between 6:30 and 9:00 AM.
Hotel check-out no later than 12:00 PM.Meals Included: Breakfast