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Balloon fiesta HOP
(Head Out Program)

October 1, 2021 - October 11, 2021

Option #1: October 1-6, 2021
Option #2: October 6-11, 2021
Option #3: October 1-11, 2021

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Balloons, balloons and more balloons!

If this world premiere event is on your bucket list, then join SKP friends for the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Each morning as dawn breaks over the majestic Sandia Mountains, the skies will be filled with 600 bright, beautiful and palatial hot-air balloons from all over the world.

From its beginnings in 1972, the Balloon Fiesta has grown into the largest International Balloon Fiesta, with a 365-acre Balloon Fiesta Park and a launch field the size of 54 football fields (78 acres). It is the most photographed hot-air balloon festival in the world, with 886,307 attendees in 2019.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the only Balloon Fiesta where the “box effect” comes into play. The “box effect” is a special wind pattern that helps pilots navigate their balloons in a vertical, rectangular path, allowing them to return to the launch field, or even right next to your RV.

The Dawn Patrol lifts off in the dark, with specially-fitted lights, to observe weather conditions at different altitudes, such as the wind speed and its direction. Upon approval, the balloons lift off in a mass ascension. The “Zebras,” dressed in black and white, are those who will coordinate the launching of the balloons.

One of the most exciting events is the Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension, where balloonists wave their own national flag during the launch.

Even though there are always traditionally-shaped balloons, there will be various specialty shapes, too. Some of most popular are the cow, sun, pig, stagecoach, clock, skunk, the Lady bug and the sweetest mother, daddy and baby bumblebees. The bumblebee’s hands have Velcro, so when they touch in midair, it appears they are holding hands.

When visiting any of the balloon pilots, remember to ask them for one of the trading cards which will explain all the pertinent information about their balloon.

This fiesta also hosts the Gas Balloons – America’s Challenge race, with the winner being the one that has traveled the farthest. Some of the gas balloons have gone as far as the East Coast and into Canada, and you can track their progress on the Fiesta website.

At dusk, you can see the Twilight Glow on the launch field. This is when the burners are ignited, filling the balloons with a bouquet of bright colors. Then, the nights will finish with an extraordinary display of fireworks.            

Escapees will have Boondocking, “rally style” parking and a private tent for inclement weather, socials, games and catered meals.

There will be a considerable amount of walking, so please bring comfortable walking shoes, as well as binoculars and a camera to capture those once-in-a-lifetime special moments.

Three options will be offered for The Balloon Fiesta HOP.

Early arrival – Options 1 and 3
Due to the popularity of this event, we recommend early arrivals for parking at the HOP location for Options 1 and 3 only.

Early arrival is September 29, 2021. The cost for early entry is $22.50 per night up to the date of the HOP.

While registering for the HOP, please let them know which day you plan to arrive early.

Early parking is not available for Option #2
Option 2 sites will not be available for early arrival at the HOP. If you are registered for Option #2 and want to arrive early, you may call the Balloon Fiesta for any additional parking (for any dates outside of the HOP event) and pay the Fiesta directly. You will be parked in the Fiesta camping area, but will need to move your rig to the HOP camping location, with the HOP arrival date and time for the Option #2.

Option 1


You may purchase the first five days (arriving October 1 and leaving the morning of October 6), which will include the traditionally-shaped balloons, a special presentation by a Professional Hot Air Balloon Pilot and two balloon launch field entrance tickets per person, plus the activities below

Option 2


You may purchase the last five days (arriving the morning of October 6 and leaving on October 11), which will include the traditional shape balloons, the special shape balloons and two balloon launch field entrance tickets per person, plus the activities below.


Option 3



Register for the entire stay of the Balloon Fiesta HOP, which will include four tickets per person, entrance into the balloon launch field, plus the activities below for ten days and nine nights.


Calendar of Activities

Friday, Oct. 1

  • Arrival
  • Professional Balloon pilot presentation
  • Announcements 
  • Meet and greet
  • *Welcome catered dinner*

Saturday, Oct. 2

  • *Catered breakfast*
  • Dawn Patrol Show
  • Morning Glow
  • Opening Ceremonies
  • Mass Ascension
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational – Professional Carvers
  • America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race Inflation
  • Announcements and socials- get together
  • *Catered dinner*
  • Twilight Twinkle Glow™
  • America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Launch
  • AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show

Sunday, Oct. 3

  • *Catered breakfast*
  • Dawn Patrol 
  • Morning Glow
  • Mass Ascension
  • Fiesta of Wheels Car Show
  • Balloon Fiesta Pin Trading
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving
  • Announcements and Social
  • Balloon Glow
  • AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show

Monday, Oct. 4

  • *Catered breakfast*
  • Dawn Patrol Show
  • Balloons Launch
  • Balloon Competition Flying Begins
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving Demonstrations
  • Free Afternoon

Tuesday, Oct. 5

  • *Catered breakfast*
  • Dawn Patrol Show
  • Balloons Launch
  • Balloon Competition Flying Begins
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving Demonstrations
  • Free Afternoon
  • *Farewell catered dinner* For The Option #1

Wed., Oct. 6

  • *Catered breakfast
  • Dawn Patrol Show
  • Ballons launch
  • Balloon Flying Competition begins
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving demonstrations
  • Free afternoon
  • Farewell Option #1 Safe Travels
  • Option #2 Arrival
  • Free Afternoon
  • Announcements
  • Meet and greet
  • *Welcome Catered Dinner for Option #2 and #3*

Thursday, Oct. 7

  • *Catered breakfast*
  • Dawn Patrol Show
  • Special Shape Rodeo
  • Balloon Flying competition begins
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational – Professional Carvers
  • Announcements and Socials
  • *Catered dinner
  • Team Fastrax Skydiving
  • Special Shape Glowdeo
  • AfterGlow Fireworks Show

Friday, Oct. 8

  • *Catered breakfast*
  • Dawn Patrol Show
  • Special Shape Rodeo 
  • Balloon Flying Competition Begins
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational – Professional Carvers
  • Announcements and social hour
  • *Catered dinner*
  • Special Shape Glowdeo
  • AfterGlow Fireworks Show

Saturday, Oct. 9

  • *Catered breakfast*
  • Dawn Patrol Show
  • Special Shape Rodeo- Balloon Launch
  • Flying competition begins
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational – Professional Carvers
  • Announcements and social hour
  • *Catered dinner
  • Special Shape Glowdeo
  • AfterGlow Fireworks Show

Sunday, Oct. 10

  • *Catered breakfast*
  • Dawn Patrol Show
  • Farewell Mass Ascension
  • AIBF Chainsaw Carving Q&A
  • End of HOP – Safe Travels!

Monday, Oct. 11, 11:00 a.m. Check-out 


Itinerary subject to change without notice

Rain or shine. 
*Special dietary requests cannot be accommodated.

Includes considerable walking; please wear comfortable walking shoes.


Registration Also Includes:

  • Prizes
  • Your HOP hosts
  • Souvenir HOP name badge
  • All gratuities



Payment Options: Pay half of the fee upon registration and then make monthly payments. The balance is due 60 days before the event. Ask the HOP department about this payment option.

To register for this HOP, contact the HOP Department at the number below.


For more information, email registration@escapees.com

Note: Non-Escapees members are welcome to attend, too. We’d love to have you There will be a $60.00 charge for non members. However, if you join Escapees, the $60.00 will be waived.  

To join the Escapees RV Club, please call 936-755-1060.

To view upcoming HOPs

To visit the HOP Facebook page:

To join our discussion forum

Confirmation Email

Once registered, a confirmation notification will be sent via email regarding pertinent information, such as RV Park address, tour dates, times, etc.

Please, make sure Escapees has your current email address on file. If you do not receive it, please check your spam files, or email us at: registration@escapees.com.

Safety and responsibly

Escapees RV Club wants to make sure everyone has fun while keeping safety as our top priority, so there are a couple of changes to the Head Out Program or the HOPs. 

  • We will be following applicable CDC and state guidelines and an additional set of detailed health and safety rules that we have developed specifically for Escapees gatherings.
  • When you arrive, you will receive a name badge, and that will be your entry pass to our group activities.
  • There will be no potlucks or sharing of food. (But you are welcome to bring-your-own drinks and snacks to the socials, or you may bring your meal if one is not catered!)
  • Masks will be required at any time that adequate social distancing is not possible. (Social distancing is a minimum of 6 ft. apart.)
  • Carpooling to offsite activities is not recommended, but if you do carpool, please wear your mask.
  • Please wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently.
  • Please use hand sanitizer when necessary.

Attendee agreement and liability waivers

Participants must sign an Attendee Participation Agreement and Liability Waiver when they arrive at the campground and “check-in” at the HOP. The HOP Hosts will give each attendee a copy of this agreement and ask them to sign and return it to the Host. (Each person must sign their own agreement—one per RV is not sufficient.)

In the Attendee Participation Agreement and Liability Waiver document, the Participant agrees, among other things: 

  • not to attend the HOP if they know they have been exposed to the novel coronavirus or have had symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 14 days;
  • immediately notify the Host if they are exposed or have symptoms during the Event, and to self-isolate (either in their RV or by leaving the Event) for the remainder of the HOP
  • to comply with all health and safety precautions established for the Event, whether by the Hosts, federal, state or local guidelines and regulations; and
  • to hold the Hosts, Organizers and Escapees harmless from any liability if they do become ill during the Event.

Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance

We highly suggest that you protect your investment on this HOP by purchasing trip insurance.

If you or a family member has a pre-existing medical condition, you might consider purchasing cancellation insurance. Insurance can also help with covering other unexpected emergencies while on the trip.

You can get more information about this insurance, such as pricing and coverage, by calling the Escapees Travel Agency, 855-757-8881, or email them at: eta@escapees.com.  This insurance should be purchased within 10 business days of registering for the HOP.

Cancellation Policy

1 Business Day from Booking:             Full Refund
More Than 90 Days to the event:         75 % Refund – from the full cost of the HOP
30 – 90 Days to the event:                    25% Refund – from the full cost of the HOP
30 Days or Less to the event:               No Refunds

Physical Needs for HOP –  Escapees Inc. will attempt to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled attendees when it is within our control. Please advise us of any special needs as early as possible so we can make arrangements.

By attending this event, you are agreeing to the following: As an attendee, you assume all risk and danger relating to your personal property, RV and attendance at the HOP event, whether occurring prior to, during or after the event. In the event of loss or theft, no claim will be made upon Escapees, its volunteers, employees or agents. Volunteers may be directing and assisting you in your parking areas. However, it is the driver of the vehicle who is ultimately responsible for avoiding obstacles or dangerous situations, and is solely responsible for any damage to one’s property or the property of others. As an attendee at this event, you are granting your permission to be filmed, videotaped, audiotaped, or photographed, and granting the full use without compensation.

COVID-19 precautions

Because the safety of our members and staff is our number one priority, proof of either full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will be required to attend this event.

Escapees recommends that members be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before attending any club event. (“Fully vaccinated” means that at least two weeks have passed since receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson or Astra-Zeneca vaccines). Participants who are not fully vaccinated must obtain a COVID-19 test not more than 72 hours (three days) before entering this event.

    • At event check-in, you will be asked to present either a valid CDC vaccination card showing that you are fully vaccinated OR the written results of a negative COVID-19 test performed within the past 72 hours.
    • If you don’t have a test, have lost your vaccination card, or are outside of the 72-hour window, locations of the nearest testing facilities will be provided to you. You will be required to self-isolate until a negative test can be provided.
    • Participants who test positive are not allowed to remain on site, and will receive a full refund of their registration fee.
Situations in which you may not attend this event

You may not attend this event if any of the following are true for you or anyone in your party, unless you have met CDC criteria for discontinuing self-isolation:

    • Within 14 days before attending the event you have tested positive, or been exposed to someone who has tested positive, for COVID-19, or
    • Within 48 hours before attending the event, you have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., a fever of 100 or higher, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking muscle pain/achiness, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, or any other symptoms associated with COVID-19 identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), whether or not you are vaccinated, unless you have obtained a negative COVID-19 test since the onset of your symptoms and within 72 hours before entering this event.
FAQs about the vaccine/testing requirement

While PCR tests are preferred because they are the most accurate, antigen tests (also referred to as rapid tests) will be accepted.

Yes, children who are not fully vaccinated will need a negative COVID-19 test result to attend.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you can get tested at any facility that offers COVID-19 testing. The websites of most state or county public health departments can help you find testing locations. Many retail pharmacies also offer testing. Your event hosts will have a list of testing locations in the area of the event.

If you test positive for COVID-19 before the event, you are unfortunately no longer eligible to attend. To receive a full refund of your registration fee, email a copy of your positive test result to us at registration@escapees.com.

If you test positive for COVID-19 during the event, you may not remain on-site at the event. 

If you’ve had COVID-19 within 14 days before attending the event (meaning you are still within the 14-day isolation window), you are unfortunately not eligible to attend. To receive a full refund of your registration fee, email a dated copy of your positive test result to us at registration@escapees.com.

If you’ve lost your CDC vaccine card, you will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before arriving at the event.

Masks recommended indoors

In accordance with current guidance from the CDC, Escapees strongly recommends that all attendees, vaccinated or not, wear a mask when participating in activities or socializing with other participants indoors. Attendees are also expected to comply with all masking requirements issued by any governmental entity or private business.

Other precautions

The COVID-19 health and safety precautions that will be in effect during the HOP will depend on the state of the pandemic, local and state health regulations, and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and other medical professionals at the time. These precautions may include measures such as requiring wearing of masks in certain situations, requiring social distancing, avoiding indoor group activities, limiting carpooling, and/or limiting activities that include sharing of food. In addition to the above, you may be required to agree in writing that you will help provide a safe environment for everyone by complying with our health and safety rules, and to release Escapees from liability should you become ill during or after the event. 

Please also be aware that the availability and content of some planned activities may change depending on local and state health regulations and the business’ own COVID-19 mitigation policies.

By signing up for this HOP you are accepting the above covid policy.

See you at the HOP!
Lisa Koca
HOP Director
then, click on the event page
For Cruise HOPs, call: Escapees Travel Agency 855-757-8881 (Toll-Free)
Escapees RV Club
100 Rainbow Drive
Livingston, Texas 77351


October 1, 2021
October 11, 2021
Event Category:


Head Out Program
View Organizer Website


Albuquerque International Balloon Fiest
5000 Balloon Fiesta Pkwy NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website

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