Admission at the gates of the Balloon Fiesta will cost $2 more this year – the result of rising operating costs and lost revenue last year, a fiesta spokesman said.
Tom Garrity, the fiesta’s director of communications, said Friday that the admission price will climb from $6 last year to $8 this year. Children 12 and under remain free.
It’s the first increase in the gate admission price since 2006, he said.
The Balloon Fiesta’s “board made a difficult decision to increase admission at the gate” to help cover increased costs and recoup some revenue lost because of rained-out events last year, Garrity said.
The city of Albuquerque owns the balloon park, but the fiesta group shares some of the maintenance costs.
Garrity said the fiesta has seen increases in the cost of propane tanks, other fuel and trash collection. The fiesta is also grading some of the land, he said.
“The Balloon Fiesta’s goal is to keep the costs down so everyone can affordably enjoy the event,” Garrity said.
Here’s a look at the price changes:
♦ Admission at the gate is $8, up from $6 last year, for anyone 13 or older.
♦ Tickets bought online remain $8 – the same as last year – but no longer include admission to the Balloon Museum. Getting into the museum costs $3 for New Mexico residents with a valid ID, $2 for seniors and $1 for children 4-12.
The increase in gate admission comes during a public battle involving food vendors upset about the new price of booth rentals. Eleven fiesta concessionaires have decided to drop out this year, their spokesman said this week.
This year’s Balloon Fiesta is Oct. 6-14.
The rates for the fiesta’s park-and-ride program will remain the same as last year. It’s $12 for adults when the tickets, which include admission, are purchased in advance. There are discounts for seniors and children.
Parking at the fiesta is $10.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal