Event Information

Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival 29th Annual Balloon Fiesta Show - 2017

Sandia Resort and Casino
Albuquerque, New Mexico (West)

Phone: 505-292-7457
Event Dates: 10/6/17 - 10/15/17
Application Deadline: 4/1/17 Midnight MST

The application deadline has passed.


Images: 6 (a booth shot is required)

Fee (Required Fee. Only one fee, whether applying for single wknd. or both wknds.): $30.00

You can submit up to 2 applications for this show.


Event Summary

 Rio Grande’s Balloon Fiesta Show has endless potential to attract an affluent crowd of tourists looking for an authentic New Mexican experience – and ring in stellar sales for the 200 chosen artists & craftsmen!

Now in its second year at the beautiful Sandia Resort and Casino, this long-time favorite festival will showcase a national selection of fine artists and craftsmen - in a completely unique setting.  Each October, Rio Grande’s famous “Big White Tent” becomes home to a bustling art marketplace a full acre in size!  This is the largest art event of its kind in New Mexico. The new site, set in the heart of the action at I-25 & Tramway, makes it more attractive and accessible for tourists than ever before. 

The festival location equally blends the beauty of New Mexico with logistical ease for attendees.  Promoters focus on creating a successful sales environment for artists; working hard to attract affluent art buyers and bring in the crowds.  In 2016, tourist attendance increased significantly, visibility was better than ever... and having the balloons floating overhead was nothing short of ‘enchanting’!  Join in on this exciting, top-rated art festival!


General Information

Jury Fee $30.00

Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festivals
29th Annual Balloon Fiesta Show
Two 3 Day Weekends! October 6,7,8 & October 13, 14, 15, 2017
Hours: 9a - 5p Daily

Apply for one weekend or both weekends!


The Big White Tent at Sandia Resort & Casino

The festival's location is on Sandia Pueblo's land on the northeast corner of I-25 and Tramway, the same intersection of the International Balloon Fiesta (which is at the southwest corner).  The tent is set on a flat lot and the site is fully astroturfed.  It is bordered on the north side by a 4 story parking structure (available for free), on the south side by a perfectly groomed PGA golf course, and to the east by the resort's upscale casino, hotel and renowned concert ampitheatre.  To the west, each morning during the Balloon Fiesta there is heavy traffic on I-25, which adds more opportunities for visibility, billboards & signage.  Artists can enjoy relaxing before the show opens with a quiet, front row seat of the thousands of hot air balloons rising just to the west.  After the balloons go up, the timing is just right for Balloon Fiesta attendees to head straight across to the Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival!

2016 Survey Results & Reviews 

65% of artists reported 2016 sales as being either 'higher than usual' or 'record breaking'.

97% of artists surveyed awarded 5 stars to 'Organization and Management' of the October 2016 show.

Artists surveyed gave 'Advertising and Promotions' an aggregate score of 4.77 / 5 stars.

"I can't believe how professional and artist-centric this show is. You really set the bar high for other shows. You understand why artists do shows, and you exceeded my expectations. Driving a trailer over 3,000 miles was well worth it." -S.M., Woodworker, 2016

"I thought the location was outstanding!! Sales for me were incredible. Probably my next-to-best record breaking sales for this year!!!" -K.T., Oil Painter, 2016

"I feel this was a great move for the show, and I think it could grow back into the best show ever.  With 45 years of doing shows all over the country, this is right up there with my best." - E.K., Jeweler, 2016

"Gore, together with her highly competent staff, has a reputation for being one of the top festival producers in the country." - Sunshine Artist Review 


The goal in 2017 is to attract even more Balloon Fiesta attendees and keep this show right where it belongs - amongst the top ten in the nation.  Our team makes it a top priority to attract a buying public and deliver financial results for exhibitors.  Rio Grande’s robust marketing campaign includes the following:

  • TV– substantial investments during top rated news, morning and prime time programming on all major stations for 2 weeks; Rio Grande sponsorship of Balloon Fiesta TV coverage provides exclusive ad opportunities during BF mass ascensions on weekend mornings; station promotions through on air announcements, on air ticket giveaways, live news coverage of event, on air weekend calendars, websites etc.
  • Radio – 2 station sponsors, massive coverage for 2 weeks on 9 stations, ticket giveaways, interviews, websites
  • Billboards -  Extensive billboard coverage throughout the metro area, as well as digital boards on key arteries throughout the city - including I-25.
  • Newspaper – Full color ads beginning a week before opening day
  • Southwest Art Magazine - co-op style, multiple page spread in national magazine with opportunities for personal artist advertisements
  • Sandia Resort & Casino places our billboard image on their digital advertising platforms throughout the high end resort, including on TV's in rooms, screens throught the common areas of the resort and casino, and most impressively on the jumbo-tron at the concert ampitheatre during intermissions.
  • Direct mail postcards sent to 30,000 loyal customers
  • Exclusive e-blasts to over 40,000 previous attendees, collected through our digital customer kiosks
  • Social Media Facebook is used to promote exhibiting artists, and a Facebook event is advertised to attract new and existing customers to our social network. 
  • 'Featured event’ on  Albuquerque Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website and advertiser in visitors guides sent to tourists 
  • Tour Groups planning trips to Albuquerque during BF are contacted and encouraged to add the festival to their itineraries
  • Rack card placement at visitors centers, airport, hotels and area attractions in ABQ, Santa Fe and area
  • 'Collector's Invite' sent to gallery owners across the metro area, including free tickets
  • Festival Banner on escalator stairwell at Albuquerque Airport
  • Marketing presence at the Albuquerque Convention and Visitor’s Bureau tent at the Balloon Fiesta park
  • Inclusion in coupon booklets for area attractions distributed at Balloon Fiesta by ACVB
  • Integration onto 40+ online calendars and event sites, all linked to website. 
  • Live ticket giveaways on radio and TV, social media marketing ... and more!  

  • Full color program distributed to patrons
  • Artist name badges & booth signs provided
  • 24/7 security allows artists to leave booths in place between weekends.
  • Electricity is available throughout the tent with electricians onsite - full time! 
  • Booth sitting provided free of charge.
  • Free Wifi will be available in the tent.
  • All accepted artists will receive free festival postcards for their own mailings, plus access to online marketing tools such as digital flyers, images, and logos.
  • Fenced and secure cargo parking for all sizes of vehicles, conveniently located directly behind tent.
  • RV parking available for exhibitors across the street for a daily fee, paid to the resort.
  • On-site weather monitoring and text alerts to notify artists in case of inclement weather.
  • Load-in and tear-down are a breeze with multiple openings on all sides of the tent, and help-for-hire available.
  • Coffeecake each morning plus coffee, tea, ice water and treats throughout the day for artists
  • ‘Artist Party’ with beer, wine, food, and live music on the second Friday night of the show.
  • ‘Artist Resources’ web page, with all show information, logistics, site maps, marketing material, helpful links, and our personal recommendations for restaurants and more!
  • 'Festival Food Bucks' provided for each artist to use in our food court!
  • 4 free tickets to give to customers or friends.
  • Free golf cart shuttles provided to and from vehicles throughout the resort grounds, for both artists and customers.
Visit our website to see photos and videos of the festival: www.riograndefestivals.com

Approximately 200 booth spaces will be available each weekend for exhibiting artists (less than years past) to afford all participants a bigger piece of the pie. Artists can apply for one or both weekends. Standard artist spaces inside the big tent are 10′ x 10′. They are $650 for a single weekend, $1300 for both weekends.  All artist booths are inside of the 'big white tent', and specialty food booths are highlighted in the Culinary Arts tents.  

Artist requests for preferred weekend (if only applying to one weekend) as well as preference for booth size and type are always considered, but may have to be altered to balance the show's categories and match the layout of booth sizes available for a two weekend show. It is possible to apply for both weekends but be accepted only for one weekend. If an artist is applying for a single weekend, but is actually only available one specific weekend, he/she should choose “guaranteed weekend” on their application and specify the weekend they are available, so this is taken into consideration when balancing show categories and space sizes between weekends. Single weekend assignments are not flexible once all artists have been assigned space and weekends.  A 'guaranteed weekend fee' of $100 will be charged.  

A limited number of spaces will be reserved for specialty foods - balsamic vinegars, jams and jellies, salsa, chocolates, dips and soup mixes, etc., as well as consumable products - soaps, lotions etc.  Vendors applying for sampling space or space to sell consumables must submit images of their products and booth as well as submit samples. Vendors in these categories do not undergo the same jury process as artists and craftsmen, but are evaluated based on product quality, variety and availability.  Culinary Arts booths and specialty booths will be in the outdoor market area in the Culinary Arts & More tent.  

The jurying committee will review the images of each entrant and select exhibitors based on ranked jury point totals using scoring of 1 (low) to 7 (high). The following criteria will be taken into consideration: quality of work, mastery of medium, originality, artistic design, focus, marketability and booth display. Work exhibited must be consistent with that shown in images. Booth display photo should accurately represent the work in the category that is being submitted in the images on Zapp. Submit separate entries and jury fees for each category and note in 'booth comments' that you are jurying for two categories but only ordering one booth. The artist who created the work must be present at the show.  No buy sell allowed, no imports.

Works may incorporate some commercially produced parts, such as a necklace chain or a picture frame, but the work’s design and execution must be primarily the product of the exhibiting artist’s skill. *Jewelry Applicants -please note:  Strung, beaded jewelry pieces made only of purchased beads or components will no longer qualify for this show. Jewelry applicants must use their own skills and techniques to create the primary component(s) used in their finished piece. Any artist who has applied for a different medium but wants to also jury for jewelry must also send in separate images of jewelry and be juried in, to be allowed to sell it at the show. 

Categories are limited. Once each category is full, an alternate list will be compiled, and exhibitors on the wait list will be offered spaces as they become available.

For each medium to be displayed, all applicants must submit 5 digital images representative of the quality and variety of their work, plus a digital image of their booth display. Please include biographical information or a resumé, for our use in promoting you and your artwork through the media. Also include image descriptions and/or a description of the artistic process if it is not apparent. Pricing is also taken into consideration when judging marketability. Jewelers, please see eligibility paragraph above for revised requirements for 2017.  Note that buy sell will not be tolerated at this show.  

Functional items with reproductions of the artist' work on them (art tiles, mugs, etc.) must be submitted for jurying under the separate category of 'reproductions of the artists work' and images of all of the items must be submitted, these items may be grouped together in photos. (Prints or giclees are allowed and do not need to be entered under the reproduction category).  These reproduction items may not make up more than 20% of the display space in the booth and cannot include totes, T-shirts, caps,  or other clothing items.

Applications must be completed online through www.zapplication.org.  Complete the Festival's application on Zapplication and submit by midnight on April 1, 2017.  

Note: If an artist is unable to process and prepare an application on Zapplication, the Festival will digitally process a limited number of applications for an additional fee of $20. Call the office to request.

Officers are on duty during the Festival’s open hours as well as overnight, but each artist is ultimately responsible for their own work. Neither the Festival nor its employees, directors, volunteers, security or insurance company are financially liable for losses or damages of any kind. Exhibitors should make arrangements with their own insurance companies for proper coverage.

Saturday, April 1, 2017 Deadline for applications to be submitted on Zapplication.
Monday, May 1, 2017 Notification of jury status through Zapp and by e-mail.  
Monday, May 15, 2017 Deadline for invited artists to accept via Zapp and confirm space in show by making 50% payment to Rio Grande office by check or credit card.  Payments are NOT ACCEPTED through Zapplication for this event. If 50% of fees are not received in the office by this date, your booth space will automatically be released to an alternate on the waitlist, and your status will be changed from accepted to waitlist. 
Thursday, June 15, 2017 Full payment must be received in the office by this date. For cancellations, this is the last day to cancel and receive the maximum refund (less $100). See cancellation policy.  
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 Last day to cancel and receive a 50% refund.
*Payment Plans are available.  Please contact our office prior to the first deadline for details.  Payment plan must be set up prior to May 15, and a CC# or post-dated checks must be received by May 15 in order to hold one's space in this show.  If no payment plan was set-up and no CC# or post-dated checks have been received by Rio Grande by May 15, there will be an automatic change of status from 'Accepted' to 'Waitlisted'.  Late payment charge is $25.


Set-up takes place Thursdays, October 5th & October 12th from 9am to 6pm; with finishing touches permitted on Friday mornings from 7 am to 8:30 am (no load-in allowed). Show opens at 9 am.
Exhibitors who have not called or checked in by 3 pm on Thursday will be considered a no-show and will forfeit their booth.

Sales tax in NM is 6.25% for the October show. Artists are responsible for collecting and reporting it. Tax packets will be provided upon check-in.  

Festival Management reserves the right to remove items that have been falsely entered or are found to be manufactured, imported, not made by the artist, or any that are unsuitable or objectionable for a family-oriented Festival, this includes music, noise, scents, printed materials or anything else that the management finds objectionable. Refunds will not be given in these cases. Music booths must provide headphones for customers to listen to the music. Live musical demonstrations must be limited to a total of 15 minutes per hour.

Pets are not permitted at the Festival, unless they are for handicap assistance. Children must stay with you in your booth and may not freely roam around the show. They are welcome to visit the Kids Creation Station™, please limit this to one hour per day.

If cancellations are received before June 15, for the October show, a $100 penalty will be deducted from the refund - no exceptions.  After June 15, refunds will be made for 50% of the total booth fees. Starting August 2nd, refunds will be made for 20% of the total booth fees, providing exhibitor notifies the office of the cancellation. This policy also applies to exhibitors who have signed up for both weekends of the October show and cancel one weekend. If total booth fees are not received in our office by designated deadline, booth may be cancelled and resold without notice or refund.

Booth Information
  • 10x10, one weekend - $650 
  • 10x10, both weekends -$1300 
  • 10x15, one weekend - $900
  • 10x15, both weekends -$1800
  • 5x15, one weekend - $525
  • ​5x15, both weekends -$1050

​Same as above except:
  • 20x10 is available for $1200 per weekend.  
  • Specialty food booths and booths highlighting consumable products (soaps, lotions, etc.) are highlighted in the Culinary Arts tents, located immediately south of the main tent.

There is general lighting inside the tent, but lighting in individual booths is recommended. Electricity is $95 per weekend. There is a 400 watt limit, strictly enforced. 15X10 indoor booths may purchase n additional 200 watts of electric for $50 each weekend. 

A 10 foot deep corner space  is an additional $100 per weekend. Some 10 ft. corners are along the perimeter wall of the tent, not on an aisle. 15 x 10 corners for a single weekend are difficult to place and are limited. A corner space for the 5 x 15 center row spaces is $50 per weekend. Corners will be granted based on date of request received and also timeliness of payments.  A late payment may release a corner to the wait list.  

Pipe and drape is available to rent from Rio Grande.  Please order in advance to avoid a premium fee for ordering onsite.  Tables, chairs and linens are also available for rent through our tent company.

Two exhibitors (only) may share a booth ($100 additional charge per weekend). Submit one entry per exhibitor and designate one person responsible for fees.  Both artists sharing a booth must undergo the full jury process and be accepted into the show in order to share. 

Upon acceptance, one image for each exhibitor will be chosen for the website gallery (proper lighting, strong colors, and plain background work best). If no such image is available, exhibitor will not be represented on the website.  The images provided on Zapplication may be used for publicity purposes - in which case the artist will be properly recognized and credited.  If this is not acceptable, notify the office.  

All artist booths are inside of the 'big white tent'.  Although the show is technically covered, this is not a weather-proof environment.  Artists are expected to protect their work between the week, and at night from potential rain or wind, which may seep into the site. 

Specialty foods booths and cottage industry booths are in the outdoor market, in the Culinary Arts & More tent.

Artists who are exhibiting both weekends can leave their display in their booth the week between; security will be present 24 / 7.

Work that is presented attractively can be an important factor in sales as well as a positive contribution to the overall appearance of the show. Please plan your booth carefully and make sure it's attractive and easy for customers to come in and look at your work.

Each booth must have solid fire-proofed display panels or draping on the back and sides to create a partition between booths as well as a backdrop behind it. Open shelving or grids should have a solid panel behind them. Exhibitors who do not provide partitions must rent pipe and draping from the Festival.  

Tables must be covered or skirted to the floor on all sides showing, with a suitable, professional looking cover.Storage bins, back stock, wrapping materials etc. should be concealed from view.

Display our artist booth sign in your booth

No "Sale" or "Discount" signs. All signs should look professional, or signs/flyers advertising other shows or businesses.

All things belonging to each artist are expected to fit within their booth space and not interfere with aisle space or a neighbor's space.  

Exhibitor will reimburse Festival for inflicting damage to premises.

All exhibitors are responsible for keeping their area clean during show hours, including clean-up at end of show.  

Artists are expected to be mindful of other vehicles and not obstruct traffic flow during load-in.