Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Announces 2023 Final Numbers

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta announced its final numbers for the 51st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held October 7 – 15, 2023.

Final Numbers included 546 total registered hot air balloons with 107 special shape balloons, of which 12 were new to the Fiesta.  

  • Total number of registered hot air balloons: 546
  • Total number of registered special shape balloons: 107 (12 new to Balloon Fiesta)
  • Total number of registered pilots (primary and additional): 629
  • Total number of Gordon Bennett Gas Race teams: 17
  • Total number of remote-control balloons: 75
  • Total number of estimated guest visits: 968,516
  • Total number of media organizations: 142
  • Total number of registered media representatives: 836
  • Total number of views on Balloon Fiesta Live: 771,631
  • Total Number of sensory relief bags provided by KultureCityÔ at Balloon Fiesta: 252
  • Total number of KultureCityÔ Sensory Activation Vehicle uses at Balloon Fiesta: 208
  • Total numbers of countries represented (registered pilots and Gordon Bennett): 16 – Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States

Event Sessions: Two of the 14 sessions were canceled due to poor weather conditions (10/12 evening and 10/15 morning) and one was counted as a rain check event, with tickets allowed for re-use during the 51st Balloon Fiesta (10/12 evening).

Gordon Bennett: Of the 17 teams, 16 launched from Balloon Fiesta Park on Saturday, October 7 at 8:30 p.m. MT. Winners of the race were France team two, piloted by Eric Decellieres and Benoit Havret, who traveled 2,661.40 kilometers before landing in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Balloon Competition Winners: The first prize in the hot air overall competition was awarded to David Strasmann of Switzerland. Second overall highest score went to Joe Zvada of Texas, third to Joe Heartsill of Texas and fourth to Tomas Hora of the Czech Republic.

Remote Control Balloons – On Wednesday, October 11, Balloon Fiesta set a new Guinness World Record for the “Largest Display of Model Hot Air Balloons” of 55 balloons. The new record of 58 model hot air balloons (also known as Remote Control Balloons) was set by the Balloon Fiesta when they were on all display at one time.

Navigators: 1,134 Navigators volunteered during this year’s event. Navigators (not including chase crew) are volunteers who provide guest services, administrative services, balloon coordination and safety, set-up and logistics, and more in over 40 different areas.

X Marks the Spot: Landowners picked up over 800 X-Packs to mark their land as an approved spot for balloonists to land during this year’s event. There were also many, colored sheets that were displayed to indicate the land was open for landings. X Marks the Spot is sponsored by the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce. The winners included:

  • John And Jeremy Mechenbier
  • Chris Aldrige
  • Iris Flechsenhaar
  • Viviana Moreno
  • Abigail Savage
  • Debbie Harlow
  • Lance Flemming
  • Kelsey Culbertson
  • Myia Hackett

KultureCity Sensory Activation Vehicle (S.A.V.E.) – New this year was a the KultureCity Sensory Activation Vehicle (S.A.V.E.) that served as a space for sensory refuge for Balloon Fiesta guests. 460 families and between 920 and 1840 individuals leveraged this space.

Additional information about the 2023 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta can be found at The 52nd Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will be held October 5-13, 2024.