ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Organizers of the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta say nearly 100 special shaped hot air balloons have registered for this year’s event, including more than a dozen that will be making their first appearance for the festivities.

The fiesta begins Oct. 7 and will continue through the following weekend. It attracts hundreds of pilots from around the world and tens of thousands of spectators.

Organizers say special shaped balloons have held a distinct honor at the fiesta since the premiere of the so-called Special Shape Rodeo in 1989, the first event of its kind devoted exclusively to the special balloons.

This year, the category includes balloons in the shape of a queen’s guard from the United Kingdom, a cat and mouse from the U.S. and an armadillo from Brazil.

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