Hundreds aloft for final weekend of Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Some events have the kind of natural punctuation marks that make all their competitors pale.

Hundreds of balloonists participate in the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Mass Ascension

When you start off with hundreds of bulbous orbs tickled by bursts of fire and toss them into a crazy blue sky that’s boasting cottony clouds and spears of sunlight – well, you get the picture.

That’s what the annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta had working in its favor during Saturday’s Mass Ascension. That sounds a little liturgical but in a strictly sensory sense, who could argue.

A golden sunrise greeted the balloonists this weekend for the two-wave launch of the day’s featured event. They use directors to coordinate the launch so all the balloons get safely airborne.

The Fiesta got its start back in 1972 featuring just 13 balloons.

There were approximately 550 of them this year – gravity-defying bubbles representing 17 countries.

This is the final weekend of the Fiesta, a nine-day flying color-burst in the Albuquerque air.