Up, Up and Away at the 2019 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta!


True-Lee New Mexico Balloon Fiesta Adventure

We cannot profess to be early birds, in fact we are the exact opposite! It would be easier for us to stay up until 3am rather than wake up at that time, but New Mexico Tourism made us an offer we could not refuse! 

When we were asked if we wanted to fly in their True-Lee New Mexico hot air balloon during mass ascension at the 2019 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, our answer was a resounding “YES!”. This crowd favorite is piloted by Bill Lee of X-Treme-Lee Fun Balloon Adventures who is a next level pro and is supported by an equally amazing crew. ⁠We knew we would be in very good hands! 

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta™ is the largest ballooning event on earth, the most photographed event on earth, and the largest annual international event held in the United States. This magical nine day event is highly anticipated by locals, tourists, and ourselves alike and it was truly an enchanted honor to fly in the #NewMexicoTrue hot air balloon. ⁠

⁠It’s a pure adrenaline rush to launch off the field with hundreds of thousands of people below cheering you on. The air is filled with the roar of the crowd, horns honking, and whistles blowing. Someone even yelled “I love you!” as we took off, which was adorable and you can even hear Caitlin giggle in her video as she was filming the ascension.

Very soon those cheering people become tiny little ants down on the field and the cacophony of sounds faded away into silence with only occasional bursts of propane and our own exclamations of wonder. That’s when we decided to try and go Live on our @travelnewmexico Instagram account, something we’ve never been able to do from the air. Lo and behold we got a connection and - BAM! - we instantly had hundreds of people from all over the United States and the world chiming in with questions, comments and all the heart eye emojis! (Replay of the Live is on our IGTV account if you missed it so you can experience it with your own eyes - there’s nothing quite like it soaring through the skies in the basket of a hot air balloon!)

Bill Lee is a consummate professional who immediately put us at ease and helped to negate the nervousness one might feel flying 1,300 feet in the air in nothing but a wicker basket. You have a limited amount of time to get the shots that you want and need so it’s essential to be able to focus on that task instead of on your sweaty palms. He was also very accommodating and answered all of our followers questions while piloting the balloon amongst 500+ other balloons during mass ascension. Which needless to say is no easy task! He made sure we were comfortable and able to create content for our various audiences. It was an absolute pleasure to fly with a pilot who not only gets and embraces content creation! 


Our New Mexico pride runs deep and it is felt strongly at this event as our unique culture and heritage is on display for all the world! Flying in the New Mexico Tourism hot air balloon was the epitome of that New Mexico pride and we felt the honor deeply. 

The Balloon Fiesta has grown from humble beginnings of 13 balloons in a shopping mall parking lot to a nine-day event with over 500 hot air balloons flown by pilots from around the world and from 41 U.S. states. Balloon Fiesta Park covers 365 acres with a 78-acre launch field and is the largest annual international event held in the United States attracting hundreds of thousands of people each year!⁠

There is definitely a reason that the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the most photographed event in the world! All the better to photograph it from the air as we were so fortunate to do when got to experience this #NewMexicoTrue event firsthand from the True-Lee New Mexico hot air balloon! ⁠Special thanks to the New Mexico Tourism team, Bill Lee, and his entire crew for making our flight a magical memory that we are thrilled to share with our communities. 


Find more information about X-Treme-Lee Fun Balloon Adventures at www.scenicballoonrides.com.

Learn more about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and other balloon fiestas and rallies in New Mexico at www.newmexico.org/events/balloon-fiestas-rallies/.