Hot Air Balloons Launch Ballooning Festival - Stock image
Air Vehicle, Crowd, Entertainment Event, Exhibition, Hot Air Balloon
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - October 13, 2006: Hundreds of hot air balloons ascend during a sunrise launch to race for prizes 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. In addition to mass ascents and races, events include accuracy flights, night burns, special-shape balloons, distance flights, rides for event-goers and sales of ballooning memorabilia.