The 47th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is set to start Saturday and will feature nearly 600 hot air balloons.
The event is expected to draw around million visitors to central New Mexico but comes as Albuquerque continues to struggle with crime. According to FBI statistics released last month, the Albuquerque metro area had the highest per capita robbery rate in the country in 2017.
This year’s balloon festival theme is “Carry Me Away.” The fiesta’s morning mass ascensions launch this weekend, Wednesday and the weekend of Oct. 13-14.
Of the 600 hot air balloons, around 100 will be special shapes. Those special shaped balloons will include those in the image like a pirate, impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, a smiling emoji, Buster the Bulldogg and a rat eating cheese.