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Balloon Fest - shoes, camera, food, rest?

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
321 posts
248 reviews
Balloon Fest - shoes, camera, food, rest?

We’ll be going to the balloon fest, and can’t wait. Seeking feedback on any element of the plan. Plan to be on the field, around 5am. Uber from hotel in downtown. Is a tripod accepted on the field? Shoes - running shoes or hard sole? How far walking from entry to mid field? Portapoties plentiful? Anything not allowed on the field? Do balloonists allow pictures as the inflate? Any photo restrictions? What wind speed cancels going aloft? Are there food or beverage trucks? For your first visit, what did you wish you had known in advance?

All comments appreciated.

8 replies to this topic
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
22,358 posts
61 reviews
1. Re: Balloon Fest - shoes, camera, food, rest?

Running shoes better, you will be on grass. Lots of porta potties! Are you taking park n ride or driving? If parking in one of the lots, then the walk depends on where. I've seen golf carts helping in the parking lots. TON's of food. Breakfast burritos and coffee are a must do. Yes you can take photos on the field of the balloons. Beautiful.

Bring the least amount of stuff you can. You have to carry everything with you. We go with a small backpack when just visiting. When working we have a gear cart to carry the cameras, tripods, lights etc.

Hilton Head, South...
Level Contributor
335 posts
114 reviews
2. Re: Balloon Fest - shoes, camera, food, rest?

With the crowds I found a tripod was more of a hinderance and just something else to carry around. With everything going off at the same time it was hard not to miss anything,

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
7,609 posts
269 reviews
3. Re: Balloon Fest - shoes, camera, food, rest?

Wear layers. It's a big open field and the breeze can be very cold so a warm hat is good (and gloves too). A backpack is great but be prepared for it to be searched at the gate. I'd say no to the tripod. So many folks looking up someone is bound to trip over it and you won't need it. Lots of little kids running around also.

Not many places to sit down. If you tire easily then perhaps a chair that you can easily sling over your shoulder is a better option than a tripod - you can sit around the fringes of the field. There are some tables at the area around the vendors but they fill up quickly.

Hope the weather cooperates. I ended up once with great weather and once with nothing going up due to the wind. But still great to see them inflate.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
22,358 posts
61 reviews
4. Re: Balloon Fest - shoes, camera, food, rest?

We have never had our backpacks checked at the gate. Also never seen lots of little kids running around early in the morning. Don't overthink it and have a great time.

Arlington, Texas
Level Contributor
86 posts
98 reviews
5. Re: Balloon Fest - shoes, camera, food, rest?

We've been twice and you will LOVE it!

Parking is a little walk, but not too awful. Balloons were in 2 fields, regular and special shapes. Border of field area had lots of tent shops that sold shirts, collector buttons, etc.

Be sure not to miss:

1. Dawn patrol - painfully early, but lovely

2. Special shapes - my favorites because they are so weird

3. Games (when we were there, the game was to grab a set of key off the top of a flagpole while aloft in the balloon. If they succeeded, they won the car the keys went to).

4. Go on a ballon ride. It's worth the money. Lots of fun.

5. Try to get to a diner over the weekend, where lots of the balloon crews eat before going out and talk to some of the crews. They are very interesting people.

6. Take a nap after the day/morning ascension and come back for the evening "glow" session. (bring your tripod to this one to get good shots. You won't really be walking a lot for this one).

Notes: Don't take a tripod to the main ascension, but do wear sneakers, bring bottle water and bring a coat, hat and gloves...layers (it is surprisingly cold there in the field in the early morning). You will not want to stay in one place for more than a couple of minutes to take pictures. Balloons are lined up and organized in lifts by line every few minutes, So, you will want to run ahead and take pics as the entire line inflates and lifts. We got great shots of my family's silhouettes from inside the balloon, backlit by the sun. Also, took an award winning pic in the inside of the balloon focused on the burning brasier and colored striped background in back. Very beautiful shots. (sky is picture postcard blue in New Mexico. Hard to get a bad shot)..although i might suggest a really good telephoto lens. What is so clear in your eyesight looks very very small in a pic. :)

Enjoy! ...I'm envious. I get Wanderlust right around this time.

Edited: 03 October 2018, 13:11
Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
7,609 posts
269 reviews
6. Re: Balloon Fest - shoes, camera, food, rest?

When I attended the fiesta 2 yrs ago they checked bags at the gate. I haven't been to any major event lately where they haven't taken a look into bags. It's even discussed on the Guest Info webpage for the Fiesta - btw, their caps, not mine.

ARE LARGE PACKAGES AND BACKPACKS ALLOWED AT THE PARK?

Yes, but they are subject to inspection upon entering the Park."

balloonfiesta.com/uploads/…2018guestguide.pdf

OK
Level Contributor
228 posts
2 reviews
7. Re: Balloon Fest - shoes, camera, food, rest?

From this link, scroll down to the FAQ - they may provide answers to some of your questions.

balloonfiesta.com/uploads/…2018guestguide.pdf

All of the advice above is accurate. Tri-pods are allowed but I never want to stand in one place long enough to deal with one. The pilots and crew members are generally friendly folks who are happy to talk to you about their balloon and ballooning in general. Balloon Fiesta is the most photographed event in the world - so click away with that camera! Pay attention to the weather forecast for the days you will be there and dress in layers. It can be very chilly in the mornings and get quite warm by mid-day. I've been there wearing a coat and gloves to start - and also been there wearing shorts in the morning. If you want a guaranteed place to sit, take along a folding chair. Or, get one of the special tickets described in the link above. There is a huge selection of food at the launch field and they are open early. Breakfast burritos are the best (personal opinion)!!

Have fun!! Balloon Fiesta is spectacular!!

OK
Level Contributor
228 posts
2 reviews
8. Re: Balloon Fest - shoes, camera, food, rest?

SusieLou - You posted the link while I was typing! Lots of good information there.

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