Albuquerque - New Mexico, American Flag, Entertainment Event, Event, Exhibition
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - October 13, 2006: An American flag shaped hot air balloon rises in the morning sunshine at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - the largest such festival in the world. It started in 1972 and takes place in early October, lasting 9 days. Starting with just 21 balloons, the number rose to 1019 in 2000 and eventually had to be limited first to 750, then to 600. Over 100 pilots are from foreign countries. The flag balloon is one of the most popular of the many shapes that particitpate - including a pig, eagle, train locomotive, cactus, bumble bees, space shuttle, chili ristra, football, daisy and many others in addition to the standard hot air balloon envelope shapes.