ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dozens of balloons took flight this morning, officially marking the start of the 45th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Spectators lined up as early as 4 a.m. Saturday to witness the mass ascension at Balloon Fiesta Park.

Forecasters say the weekend is expected to bring partly cloudy weather and a chance of some rain. Balloonists could encounter a cold front that produces strong and erratic wind gusts.

The nine-day festival will feature more than 500 hot air balloons and 108 special-shaped balloons with pilots from around the world.

The theme for this year is “Desert Kaleidoscope.”

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