One more event to add to your travel planning calendar for this new year is the annual Taos Balloon Rally.

Balloons in the air over our home

Balloons in the air over our home

During the last weekend in October every year, Taos, NM hosts an event that should find its way onto every traveler’s calendar, at least once: The Taos Balloon Rally.

While there are a number of balloon rallies that take place each year, and the rally in Albuquerque is larger and more widely attended than Taos’, this is one not to be missed. Many pilots and attendees find Taos their favorite place to fly, owing this to the air quality, causing the balloon to respond in just the right way.  Others find that, due to the air up in Taos being colder, the balloons will fly longer. Still others add that the scenery and weather here are unbeatable.

This year’s event was Taos’ 31st annual balloon rally. It kicked off at 8:15 on Friday morning with a mini ascension. Then, as is typical, at 8:30 pilots offered tether rides for elementary school children at no charge. 2013 Taos Balloon RallySaturday morning saw a select group of pilots who had been specially invited for the event climb into the chilly autumn skies.

The town of Taos holds a balloon parade on the Saturday of the event, then at dusk, the balloons were inflated, then pilots burned to light up the balloons against the night sky. This even is entitled the “Balloomenshein” event, after Ernest Blumenshein, one of the men who discovered Taos and founded the Taos Society of the Artists. Visitors were able to mingle with balloon pilots and crews throughout the weekend.

Taos, NM Balloon Rally

A balloon basket in a pickup truck, up close and personal

Food, hot chocolate, art, crafts and balloon related merchandise was available for purchase throughout the event as well. Each day of the event found the dawn patrol taking place at 7-7:30 am. Dawn patrol is the first flight of the day, giving a weather assessment to all other balloonists.

2013 Taos, NM Balloow RallyTerry and I were privileged to watch the event from two locations. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings, we enjoyed seeing the balloons fly over our home. Then, later in the day, we ventured over to the rally grounds to see them up close and personal. They were truly a site to behold.

The Taos Mountain Balloon Rally (TMBRA) is a non profit organization which depends on a hardworking group of local sponsors and volunteers. Local residents provide lodging and meals for pilots and crews. Entry to the balloon launch area is free of charge.

Read more about New Mexico campgrounds and things to do in New Mexico.

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