Elvis among new shapes at annual NM hot-air balloon festival; big launch set for Saturday

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Elvis among new shapes at annual NM hot-air balloon festival; big launch set for Saturday

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A giant Elvis and a child in a wheelchair are among the new shapes set to take part in an annual hot-air balloon festival in New Mexico.

The 41st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is scheduled to begin Saturday with the launch of hundreds of hot-air balloons.

More than 550 pilots have signed up to fly balloons during the nine-day event. Other balloon shapes making their debut at the fiesta include an ice cream cone, an astronaut and Simba the lion.

Fiesta officials hope for better weather for the nine-day affair after wind and rains sidelined balloons for a few events last year, cutting attendance by about 100,000 visitors.

Still, organizers last year broke a world record, sending up 345 balloons at one time.

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Online:

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta: http://www.balloonfiesta.com/

Geographic location: New Mexico, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

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