Long before the hit television series "Breaking Bad" put New Mexico's largest city in the spotlight, Albuquerque gained international fame for its balloons.
On October 5th, more than 600 colorful hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes and from all over the world returned for the city's 42nd annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
The nine-day fiesta ending on October 13th, President Bill Walker says is probably the state's single largest tourism draw, attracting balloonists from 35 states and 18 countries this year. It draws thousands of spectators from around the world who can roam the city's 72-acre balloon park to watch the morning mass ascensions and events like the floating of nearly 100 "special shapes" balloons like the kissing bees, a spotted cow and a Darth Vader helmet. There are also evening "glows," where the balloons are inflated but remain on the ground, lit up from the propane burners that fuel their flights. (AP)