Event Information

Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival 30th Annual Balloon Fiesta Show - 2018

Sandia Resort and Casino
Albuquerque, New Mexico (West)

Phone: 505-292-7457
Event Dates: 10/5/18 - 10/14/18
Application Deadline: 4/2/18 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.): $35.00

You can submit up to 2 applications for this show.


Event Summary

Rio Grande’s Balloon Fiesta Show is at the top of its game, in a premium location during the peak of New Mexico’s tourist season.  This is a favorite for artists and patrons alike! Apply today to join us as we ring in 30 YEARS!

Ranked #17 in Sunshine Artist Magazine, 2017

With 6 days of sales opportunities and the chance to explore New Mexico during the week, this show combines a southwestern getaway with a unique opportunity to sell your work to customers from all over the world.  For 30 years, Rio Grande's promoters have focused on creating an outstanding marketplace for juried fine arts & crafts that coincides with The ABQ International Balloon Fiesta.

2018 will mark the third year that the festival's huge white tent will rise alongside the PGA-level golf course of Sandia Resort & Casino – right in the heart of the action at the same intersection as the Balloon Fiesta itself.  From the site, festival-goers and artists alike enjoy panoramic views of the Sandia Mountains as well as the breathtaking sights of colorful hot air balloons floating overhead. Once inside the big white tent, the atmosphere and the artwork is first-class.  Patrons love the high energy and unique nature of this event, from the great shopping to the open-air entertainment & food court.  An outstanding advertising and marketing campaign brings in an excellent buying crowd for the 200 participating artists ... this show is worth adding to your circuit!

General Information

Jury Fee $35.00

Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festivals
30th Annual Balloon Fiesta Show
Two 3 Day Weekends! October 5, 6, 7 & October 12, 13, 14, 2018

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 pueblo-inspired resort / hotel / national 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 with a quiet front row seat to the hundreds of hot air balloons rising just to the west.  After the balloons go up, the timing is just right for Balloon Fiesta patrons to head straight across to the Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival!

2017 Survey Results & Reviews 

98% of artists surveyed awarded 5 stars to 'Organization and Management' of the October 2017 show.

85% of artists surveyed were interested in returning to participate again.

Artists surveyed gave 'Advertising and Promotions' an aggregate score of 4.89 / 5 stars.

"Very professional and friendly show that is well attended, thank you for the successful good time. Enjoyed Albuquerque and golf at the resort with the time off." - Glass Artist 2017

"The partnership with Sandia Resort puts a kiss on the show: The security, the artist party, the added beverage bar inside the tent, the option for breakfast or lunch at the cafe in the Casino, the wonderful view of the Balloons in the morning... paired with your great ability to produce a first class show... it was perfection!" - Jeweler 2017

"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 2018 is to attract even more Balloon Fiesta attendees and keep this show right where it belongs - amongst the top 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
  • The Collector's Guide - Full color advertisement
  • Sandia Resort & Casino Partnership - the resort places our billboard image on their digital advertising platforms throughout the 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.
  • Exclusive e-blasts to over 40,000 previous attendees, collected exclusively by Rio Grande 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
  • 'Featured event' on New Mexico's Tourism Website
  • 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 throughout Albuquerque and Santa Fe
  • Festival Banner 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 Rio Grande's 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 + tech support.
  • 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 first 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.
  • 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. Artists can apply for one or both weekends. Standard artist spaces inside the big tent are 10′ x 10′. Pricing below.  All artist booths are inside of the 'big white tent', and specialty booths are located in the Culinary Arts & More tent.  

Artists preferring to participate in a specific weekend (if only applying to one weekend), are advised to purchase that particular 1st / 2nd wknd booth space quickly upon being invited, as those spaces may sell out.  

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 to the festival office (address below). 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 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 not 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.  *This is NOT a numbered wait list*.

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 2018.  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.  No totes, T-shirts, caps,  or other clothing items are allowed.
Applications must be completed online through www.zapplication.org.  Complete the Festival's application on Zapplication and submit by midnight on April 1, 2018.  

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.

Sunday, April 1, 2018 Deadline for applications to be submitted on Zapplication.
Monday, April 16, 2018 Notification of jury status through Zapp and by e-mail.  
Monday, May 15, 2018 Deadline for invited artists to accept via Zapp and confirm participation by purchasing a space through Zapp.  Payments are NOW ACCEPTED THROUGH ZAPPLICATION. If at least a partial payment of fees are not received and you have not communicated with Rio Grande about a payment plan, your booth space will be released to an alternate on the waitlist. 
Wednesday, August 1, 2018 Last day to cancel and receive a 50% refund.
*Payment Plans are available.  Please contact our office prior to the first deadline to make arrangements.  Payment plan must be set up prior to May 15.  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 4th & October 11th 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 forms will be available on the Artist Resources page on the Rio Grande Festivals website (following acceptance).

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 certified assistance animals. 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. Note: Credit card fees are not refunded. If artist has arranged a payment plan, the first payment must be made by the initial payment deadline, in order to confirm one's space in the show.  If total booth fees are not received in our office by designated deadline, or in accordance with your payment plan, booth may be cancelled and resold without notice or refund.  

Booth Information
  • 10x10, one weekend - $695
  • 10x10, both weekends -$1325 
  • 10x15, one weekend - $975
  • 10x15, both weekends -$1835
  • 5x15, one weekend - $565
  • ​5x15, both weekends -$1075
*A $100 fee is added for selecting a 'guaranteed' specific weekend.*

​Same as above except:
  • 20x10 is available for $1300 for a single weekend, $2450 for 2 weekends.  
  • Specialty food booths and booths highlighting consumable products (soaps, lotions, etc.) are highlighted in the Culinary Arts & More tents, located immediately south of the main tent.

There is general lighting inside the tent, but lighting in individual booths is recommended. Electricity for booths is at a premium - electrical services for this entire event are built from the ground-up just for this show. Electricity is $125 per weekend, $250 for both. There is a 400 watt limit, strictly enforced. 15X10 indoor booths may purchase n additional 200 watts of electric for $45 each weekend. 

A corner space adds an additional $125 per weekend for 10 ft deep spaces. Some 10 ft. corners are along the perimeter wall of the tent, not on an aisle.  5x15 corners will be an additional $50. Corners will be granted based on purchase date, and they may sell out. 

Pipe and drape is available to rent from Rio Grande.  

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.