Hundreds of balloons have taken to the skies above Albuquerque in a mass launch at the annual hot-air balloon festival. Sunday morning's launches at the 41st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta came a day later than expected because high winds grounded flights on Saturday.
Early "dawn patrol" launches were followed by two waves of mass ascensions. Traditional balloons were joined by others shaped like Darth Vader, Cosmo the Astronaut and superheros.
Fiesta spokesman Tom Garrity says nearly 500 balloons floated north and east of the west Albuquerque event site. The last were landing at about 10 a.m.
Five hydrogen balloons in the cross-country America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race should take off late Sunday afternoon. Tethered balloons will launch at dusk for a twilight glow event.
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta: http://www.balloonfiesta.com/
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.