Hot Air Balloons

10 Events You Don’t Want to Miss This Fall

Highlights include a wine festival, a hot air balloon race, and a taco competition.

Fly High

September 6­–8

Reno, Nevada

It started with just 20 balloons in 1982. Since then, The Great Reno Balloon Race has inflated to the world’s largest free hot air ballooning event. Thousands of spectators will ooh and aah at close to 100 balloons. Set your alarm for Friday’s 5:15 a.m. Super Glow Show—around 35 balloons will take to the morning sky with their lights synchronized to music.

Wine and Dine

September 21–22

Niagara Falls, New York

Pair that rosé with caramel apple pierogis from A Gust of Sun Winery, or try a glass of Traminette with Vizcarra Vineyards’ farm fresh gazpacho. No matter what you choose, you’ll get some inspiration for your fall dinner party at the Harvest Festival. Tickets will get you a tasting of three wines and a food sample at each of the 21 participating wineries (those not drinking get in for free).

Plant a Seed

Through September 22

Albuquerque, New Mexico

In partnership with local farmers, New Mexico organization SeedBroadcast created a public art exhibition to spark discussion on global warming and indigenous agricultural practices. Seed: Climate Change Resilience at the Albuquerque Museum is open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday. On Sept. 21, it finishes with a bang: a morning seed-saving workshop, an afternoon panel discussion on climate change, and the creation of a temporary mural made from soil and indigenous grass seeds.

Taco ’Bout Delicious

October 12–13

Scottsdale, Arizona

Tacos with a twist. That’s the gist of the taco competition held annually at the Arizona Taco Festival. Feast on tacos, cheer on your wrestler of choice at the Lucha Libre Arena, sip one of 100-plus tequila varieties at the Tequila Expo, and participate in the Hot Chili Pepper Eating Contest. Corn or flour, chicken or chorizo—we have a feeling this festival is going to be a spicy good time.

Caffeinate Up

November 1–10

Kona, Hawaii

In the late 1820s, missionary Samuel Ruggles brought the first arabica cuttings from Oahu to Kona. Little did he know that this would spark a coffee culture and eventually lead to Hawaii’s oldest food festival: the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. In addition to sipping java harvested on farmland throughout Kona, you can take a farm tour and admire coffee-themed art.

Hug a Tree

November 2–3

Hoover, Alabama

Just outside bustling Birmingham, the Moss Rock Festival provides a weekend of every tree hugger’s dreams. Explore the 350 acres of Moss Rock Preserve on a guided hike or geocaching adventure, admire nature-inspired art, gather gardening tips to work on your green thumb, sip on some suds in the beer garden, and nurture that sweet tooth with a baked good from The Sweetery.

Glow Up

November 9–10

San Antonio

Wander among glowing, larger-than-life sculptures, take in musical performances backlit with neon lights, or catch an art film that’s projected onto the side of a building. Since 2008, Luminaria has lit up the city of San Antonio. The free, multidisciplinary arts festival was first held near the Alamo, but now pops up for two nights in Hemisfair Park, the site of the 1968 World’s Fair. The festival features more than 50 artists, most of whom are from Texas, but some from as far away as Spain and Namibia have been invited.

See Sound

November 10–March 8

Dallas

You know that feeling when you can taste the smell of a warm pastry? The Dallas Museum of Art’s speechless: different by design sure does. Created by artists after conversations with academic and medical specialists, this exhibition showcases installations where, according to the museum, it feels as if the “senses merge or are substituted for one another”—whether that’s being able to see sound or feel language. Visitors can explore a coral garden of dynamic inflatables and a room made of tens of thousands of hand-rolled textile scrolls.

Admire a Modern Masterpiece

November 22–24

San Nicolas, Aruba

Inspired by the art-filled streets of Bogota, Colombia, Oscar “Tito” Bolivar decided to recreate that feeling back home in Aruba. So he started the Aruba Art Fair. Along with a culinary art competition and school art contest, artists create street art during the event. Kick back with local food and drinks as you enjoy live entertainment, dance, and poetry.

Remember the Journey

Through December 1

Cincinnati

Developed in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center hosts Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth. This thought-provoking exhibition features works by 25 contemporary artists inspired by groundbreaking African American men throughout history, from civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois to rapper Kendrick Lamar. The exhibition includes photographs, quotes, and poetry that further explore the concepts of community, invisibility, and the African American experience.


Kristin Blake is a former editorial intern for this magazine. To share details about an upcoming event, email us at letters@southwestmag.com.

Photography courtesy of The Abbi Agency (hot air balloons)