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Mass ascension launches balloon event after COVID-19 hiatus

Mass ascension launches balloon event after COVID-19 hiatus
Hundreds of hot-air balloons created a colorful tapestry against a blue sky in New Mexico’s largest city, kicking off a nine-day annual event that was canceled last year due to the pandemic

Hundreds of hot-air balloons created a colorful tapestry against a blue sky Saturday as New Mexico’s largest city began a nine-day annual event that was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

这 7 是. mass ascension was the first of five scheduled for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a heavily photographed event that draws visitors from around the world.

这 2020 fiesta was canceled as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

Organizers said over 540 balloons were registered for this year’s event. 这 2019 fiesta drew nearly 600 balloons from across the U.S. 和 17 other countries.

Fiesta organizers said they won’t be checking for vaccination cards but noted precautions are being taken to preserve social distancing and provide access to hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations.

Indoor dining for balloon pilots and VIPs has been canceled.

多于 80 balloons that come in special ornate or cartoonish shapes will be disbursed throughout the launch field, rather than clustered together — encouraging crowds to spread out, Fiesta spokesman Tom Garrity said.

Scheduled events include a chainsaw carving display, fireworks, sky divers, musical stage performances and a strolling mariachi band.