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Annual hot air balloon festival draws global audience to US

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Posted at 10:03 PM, Oct 05, 2022

It's quite a sight to behold as the Albuquerque sky becomes filled with hot air balloons.

The annual international balloon fiesta kicked off Saturday, marking the start of an annual fiesta that has drawn pilots and spectators across the globe to New Mexico's high desert for 50 years.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is one of the most photographed events in the world.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people came to check it out.

It has become an economic driver for the state's largest city and a rare — and colorful — opportunity for enthusiasts to gather.

This year, more than 20 countries are represented, including Switzerland, Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Taiwan and Ukraine.

Three of the original pilots who participated in the first fiesta in 1972 were among this year's attendees.

The festival runs until Oct. 8, KOAT reported.