Against a backdrop of red rock and other glorious natural beauties, Gallup, New Mexico, is a sight to behold. When you combine the scenery with colorful hot air balloons rising high into the sky, you have a spectacle, unlike anything you have ever witnessed. This year, you can be a part of the Red Rock Balloon Rally, one of the largest of its kind in the country. Whether you’re a hot-air balloon enthusiast or just curious about the event, you need to check it out this year. Plan on spending a couple of days in Gallup the first week of December, and you’ll have something to remember for the rest of your life.
An Overview of the Event
The Red Rock Balloon Rally is entering its 41st year. There is so much to get excited about if you plan on attending. It will be held on Dec. 2–4 near the Fox Run Golf Course, with the majestic red rocks to the east serving as a breathtaking participant. Things will get underway on Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 a.m. when the Mass Ascension of the balloons begins. The following day, there is another Mass Ascension at 7:30 a.m., this time from Red Rock Park. Lastly, on Dec. 4, the third and final day of the festival, the balloons go up once more from Red Rock Park at 7 a.m.
There is more than just watching balloons rise into the sky at this festival. For example, there are Native American dances and other celebrations in conjunction with the three-day affair. On Saturday, Dec. 3, you can participate in the Pyramid Rock Run. Registration is on that day beginning at 8 a.m. The race starts an hour later.
There is also a downtown Christmas parade at 1 p.m. on Saturday, followed by Balloominaria at Rio West Mall at 6 p.m. On this occasion, balloons light up the dimming sky with mesmerizing lights. Lastly, on Sunday, the Dawn Patrol begins at 6:30 a.m. There is also an awards brunch and auction at Red Rock Park at 10 a.m. Here, you can see which balloons garnered the most attention and awe.
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Be a Part of the Crew
You don’t have to enter the balloon rally to play a big role in this event. You can sign up to be on the chase crew. Follow the descending balloons and help people get down safely. You can also help the ballooners gather their gear. All the while, you can watch these talented people compete for Native-American-crafted jewelry, pottery, and rugs for their efforts.
Mark your calendars for the Red Rock Balloon Rally. Witness firsthand the stunning spectacle that comes to Gallup once a year.
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