Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta – New Mexico, U.S.A.

The World’s Most Photographed Event

It’s just before sunrise, and more than 750 huge hot-air balloons are spread out across 70 acres, straining to take off. The camaraderie of international balloon enthusiasts escalates until the much-awaited 7 A.M.mass ascension,which fills the early-morning sky with bal­loons of every color, size, and shape, including some seventy “special” balloons shaped like everything from Harley Davidson motorcycles to cows jumping over the moon.

You can hitch a ride to the sky yourself by signing on with the festival’s official balloon-ride concession. Aloft, the unearthly silence is punctuated only by erratic bursts of helium gas being released as you watch the early desert sun warm the Sandia Mountains.

But things are pretty exciting back on earth, too, especially for photo enthusiasts; the Balloon Fiesta has been called the “world’s most photographed event,” filling the skies of New Mexico’s largest city for nine days each October and the pages of America’s glossy magazines for months after. If the nighttime balloon glow doesn’t light the sky enough for you, the city’s celebratory fireworks will.

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