We can’t help ourselves… Our favorite holidays are the ones that involve puns, and the fall season is full of them. That means there are plenty of celebrations (and pumpkin-flavored products) on the way. While you wait in the drive-thru line for that spiced latte, read up on these ABQ events we think you should take for a test drive:
Get in on the Balloon Bash!
It seems like last year’s balloons just landed yesterday, but its already time for this year’s lineup to take to the sky at the 2014 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Grab a hearty burrito, gear up for fun, and show up at Balloon Fiesta Park at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday to see hundreds of balloons take to the sky in the event’s signature Mass Ascension. If you miss the morning fun, no worries—at 5:45 p.m., see the balloons light up the evening sky with their burners at the Fiesta’s first Balloon Glow, followed by an impressive fireworks show at Balloon Fiesta Park.
The balloons will take to the skies for 9 days straight (weather permitting), but there are plenty of other opportunities for fun, including chainsaw carving, car shows, concerts featuring national artists, and—of course—you may run into beloved local TV celebrity Steve Stucker (he’s a big Fiesta fan). Insider tip: Ride your bicycle or use one of four Park & Rides to avoid the $10 parking fee (that has to equal at least one-and-a-half funnel cakes, right?).
Pick out the Perfect Pumpkin
Before you know it, Duke City trick-or-treaters will be invading your front porch in search of candy—or perhaps you’ve been raising a young goblin of your own. Get the holiday mood going with a visit to Wagner’s Farmland Experience. Since 2006, Roxanne and Jimmy Wagner have confounded guests with sprawling—and haunted—corn field mazes.
The first maze was a mere 6 acres, but over the years, each iteration has gotten bigger. This year, guests will be able to get the fall farm experience at 2 different mazes; one in Los Lunas that is carved across 30 acres, and another in Corrales that spans 14 acres. Roxanne says the mazes are family-friendly, and people eventually find their way out (she hasn’t had to send off any search parties, that is).
To add an extra challenge, each maze also includes a number of checkpoints–can you fill out the entire punch card?
If you’d rather not get wrapped up in this year’s corn crop, the event will also host a petting zoo (with a “zonkey” included), hay rides, and pumpkin patches ripe for the picking. Both locations are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Pumpkin prices start at $2, but the shared family experience of plucking one yourselves is priceless.
Zoo Brews… Who Knew?
We’ve never gone shot-for-shot with a tiger, but we think we can get that much closer to it at Lions, Tigers, and Beers, Oh My! at the ABQ BioPark Zoo on Saturday evening.
The beast-themed beer bash starts at 6 p.m., and includes beer samples from 28 local and regional craft breweries. There will be musical performances, food, and souvenir pint glasses for the first 3,000 attendees. After sampling a few brews, guests can take a tour of the big cats along the catwalk exhibit area, as well as the zoo’s seal, sea lion, and polar bear displays.
After all, the proceeds will benefit the animals through the ABQ BioPark Society. So kick back, relax, and be glad that you’re not on menu as well. Tickets are $25 at the door, but purchasing them online instead is highly recommended.