No vaccine requirement, capacity limit for Balloon Fiesta

No vaccine requirement, capacity limit for Balloon Fiesta

The 49th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is set to launch Oct. 2 without capacity restrictions or proof of vaccination against the coronavirus.

Face coverings will be required in all indoor areas, and in “crowded outdoor settings,” according to an update provided by Fiesta officials on Wednesday. Masks are also required for passengers riding on enclosed courtesy shuttles and park-and-ride buses.

Special shape balloons — some of Fiesta’s most popular attractions — will be spread out across Balloon Fiesta Park more than in past years to prevent large crowds from forming. Organizers said they will also encourage physical distancing in all areas of the park.

Photo by Ryan Lowery / Chile Street News
Photo by Ryan Lowery / Chile Street News

Food and merchandise vendors will be required to hang plastic shielding between customers and merchants, and vendors will be required to offer cashless payment options. A cashless option will also be available for ticket purchasing.

Organizers said they are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that they are complying with the current state public health order.

Under the current public health order, masks are required indoors in any public setting through at least Sept. 15, prior to the start of the Fiesta. The governor’s office has not said if the order will be extended.

Officials also released updated guidelines for face coverings, stating that masks must consist of at least two layers of breathable material, and that they must fully cover the nose and mouth.

Fiesta officials announced earlier this summer that the Music Fiesta and Balloon Discovery Center have both been canceled for 2021, citing the close proximity of guests at the Music Fiesta and indoor nature of the Discovery Center as reasons for the cancellations.

The nine-day event is estimated to attract more than 866,000 attendees to Albuquerque, feature 588 hot air balloons, and host 671 pilots from around the world.

This year’s Balloon Fiesta is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2 through Sunday, Oct. 10. Tickets are available now at

Chile Street News stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution, and link to our web site. View our full republishing guideline here.