Now in its 47th year, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta brings together pilots, crews and hot air and gas ballooning enthusiasts from more than fifty countries and draws a crowd of up to 100,000. With hundreds upon hundreds of brightly coloured balloons taking off, the fiesta is an impressive visual spectacle. Mass ascensions (when many hundreds of balloons lift off together into the morning sky) are held on all four weekend mornings plus one day mid-week, but only after a dawn patrol carefully examines the morning’s weather conditions. When the dawn patrol gives the green light, balloons from all over the world rise together in a harmonious lift off as dawn breaks over the Sandia Mountains. The sight of 500 balloons in the sky is as breathtaking for first-time visitors as it continues to be for veteran attendees. And on the weekend nights, laser lightshows and firework displays bring the days to a spectacular close.