11 Hot Air Balloon Photos From Travel Channel Fans

Celebrate this year's balloon fiesta.

The world's largest ballooning event, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, is underway this week and if you've never seen this show in action, definitely put it on your bucket list for next year. We've rounded up fan Instagrams from this festival and others around the world. Take a look at our favorite #LiveTravelChannel shots this week. 

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Relive This Year's Festival

10 Sights at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Check out photos from the world's largest ballooning event.
Getting Ready for Lift Off

Getting Ready for Lift Off

A pilot inspects the interior of his balloon before a flight during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta that takes place throughout the first week of October. Large fans are used to inflate the envelopes on the ground, then a propane burner is fired to heat the air and tip the balloons upright for flight. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Flying High

Flying High

More than 750 balloons representing 18 nations take off during mass ascensions, making the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta the largest annual hot air ballooning event in the world, and the United States' largest international event. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

Up, Up and Away

Up, Up and Away

The feeling of taking off in a hot air balloon is described as being similar to going up in an elevator, and balloons only launch when winds are slower than 11 mph. Several Albuquerque ballooning companies take guests on balloon rides year-round. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

Rollin' on the River

Rollin' on the River

Balloons drift along the Rio Grande to the west of the 78-acre balloon field when wind conditions allow. After the balloons land, Albuquerque offers much to do, from exploring Native American culture to experiencing New Mexico's famous chile-based cuisine. 960 1280

  

Splash 'n' Dash

Splash 'n' Dash

Several companies in Albuquerque offer special Balloon Fiesta tours, such as Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures that takes kayakers on the Río Grande to greet balloons making a "Splash 'n' Dash", during which balloons briefly touch the water before lifting off again. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

A Well-Run Zoo

A Well-Run Zoo

Zebras are officials who coordinate launches and clear space so that balloons can safely take off. The distinctive referee uniforms are often customized and make it easy for balloon pilots to spot Zebras in large crowds. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Spot Your Favorite Characters

Spot Your Favorite Characters

More than 100 special shape balloons participate during the eight-day Balloon Fiesta, including Yoda and Darth Vader from Belgium. An estimated 25 million photos are taken of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta each year, making it the most photographed event in the world. Several photo contests are held, including the Canon USA and Spot the Wonder contests. 960 1280

  

All Aglow in Albuquerque

All Aglow in Albuquerque

Balloon glows take place in the evenings and see hundreds of tethered balloons illuminated by their burners. Tens of thousands of visitors count down to when the balloons flare their burners simultaneously. The heat from the fire is welcomed by crowds on these chilly October nights.     960 1280

  

The Ballooning Capital of the World

The Ballooning Capital of the World

Albuquerque's combination of cool October mornings, open spaces, 310 days of sunshine a year and a favorable breeze pattern called "The Box" that often returns balloons to near from where they take off has led to Albuquerque's title as the Hot Air Ballooning Capital of the World.  960 1280

  

Fire in the Sky

Fire in the Sky

Firework shows follow balloon glows. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was founded by Sid Cutter in 1972, and the first Fiesta had only five balloons. Today, more than 750 balloons are registered for the annual event, and an estimated 1 million people visit the balloon park throughout the week. 960 1280

  

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