There was concern that Saturday morning’s mass ascension may be a bust, but thankfully, winds calmed down just in time for a great first mass ascension at the 47th Balloon Fiesta.

An explosion of color flooded the Albuquerque skies as the sun began to rise. 

The field was filled with visitors from all around the world. 

“It’s amazing, seeing the sunrise and seeing all the colors and the balloons. It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Alexis Dominguez, who is visiting from Colorado.

Whether it was a first experience or a yearly tradition, everyone was thrilled to see the hundreds of hot air balloons launch into the skies, marking the start of the 47th International Balloon Fiesta. 

“Beautiful, colorful, one of a kid, amazing and mesmerizing,” says visitor Lori Kleinman. 

Pilots say there are some new challenges that come with flying at Fiesta. 

“One of the trickier aspects to flying for Albuquerque is landing,” explained Daryl Fear. “They’ve got so much development going on that we’re losing a lot of landing spots.”

However, that is not stopping them from returning, bringing joy and laughter year after year. 

More than 500 balloons are expected to take to the skies this week and more than 90 of those are special shapes.