Balloon Fiesta Mass Ascension
The Balloon Fiesta Mass Ascension at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival is the highlight of the show. It was honestly one of the coolest things I have every experienced. I got up around 4am and left the Albuquerque Sheraton to go to the Balloon Park. I got up extra early incase I got lost, and luckily it was easy to find. The traffic was insane though. Check out my tips on the Balloon Fiesta here. The mass ascension is on a Saturday and there are two for every show each year. I got very lucky last year because the weather was perfect for the kick off mass ascension!
The Dawn Patrol launches an hour before sunrise to test the skies out before the show officially kicks off. At this point you really do not know what to expect. You do not realize the amount of balloons that are about to be filled with air and take off into the sky after they give the green light. Everyone is sitting around patiently waiting, and lucky there are great food vendors at the event! I highly recommend getting a breakfast burrito or a cinnamon roll. All of the food was pretty great!
There were probably around 800 balloons that went off that day. They balloons go off by section which you can see below. Here is a great shot of the hot air balloons after the sun came up. And this photo only shows about a quarter of all the hot air balloons that were going up.
We woke up at the butt crack of dawn for the Balloon Fiesta Mass Ascension, but still knew how to have a good time! My friend and I sat near this large cow balloon shown below and watched the setup from beginning to end. You must do that! Make sure to get a spot early so you can watch everything from the front.