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ABQ Trolley X: Trolley Rise
Round-trip Transportation to Balloon Fiesta Park & Chasers' Club Access
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New for 2017! This all-inclusive, early morning tour includes round-trip transportation on ABQ Trolley X (a luxury, climate-controlled, 11-passenger Mercedes van) from Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town to Balloon Fiesta Park (approximately 20 miles round trip) and access to the Balloon Fiesta's exclusive Chasers' Club (a $45 value). Your Chasers’ Club ticket gives you guaranteed seating in private outdoor patio located next to the launch field where you can enjoy a hot food item along with dessert and refreshments. The Chasers' Club is located on the north end of the field with a deluxe view of the launch site. ABQ Trolley Rise also includes general admission to Balloon Fiesta for the Dawn Patrol and Mass Ascension (see below) and exclusive transportation route with limited traffic! There are only 11 seats available for each tour. These exclusive tours sell out well in advance!
The Dawn Patrol began at Balloon Fiesta in 1978, when two California balloonists developed position lighting systems that allowed them to fly at night. Dawn Patrol pilots take off in the dark and fly until it is light enough to see landing sites. Fellow balloonists appreciate the Dawn Patrol because they can watch the balloons and get an early idea of wind speeds and directions at different altitudes. On mass ascension days, about a dozen Dawn Patrol balloons perform the Dawn Patrol Show, a choreographed inflation and launch set to music that has been part of the Balloon Fiesta since 1996. Dawn Patrol inflations begin, weather permitting, at about 5:45 AM, with launch around 6:00 AM.
Mass Ascension, a launch of all the participating balloons have been a feature of Balloon Fiesta since its earliest days and is the most spectacular display of sound and color in all of aviation. During mass ascensions, balloons launch in two waves. Launch directors, also known as zebras because of their black-and-white-striped outfits, serve as traffic cops, coordinating the launch so balloons leave the field in a safe and coordinated manner. Weather permitting, balloons begin to launch at about 7:00 AM on mass ascension days, led by a balloon flying the American flag to the strains of The Star Spangled Banner.