Air Vehicle, Albuquerque - New Mexico, Entertainment Event, Event, Exhibition
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - October 12, 2006: Specially shaped hot air balloons - a lighthouse, a green monster, a pirate barrel, and a honey bear - rise in dawn sunlight 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 specially shaped balloons are the most popular feature of the festival. In addition to those in the image, they include a pig, American flag, football, eagle, carousel, cactus, bumble bees, space shuttle, chili ristra, football, daisy, locomotive, a bear, a frog, a vase and many others. There are also polyhedral shapes and long distance high altitude balloons on hand.