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August 1, 2011
Hot air balloon festivals in France and U.S.
From the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival, to the Great Texas Balloon Race, to the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, it's the season of hot air balloon races. (19 images)



A balloonist fires the burners as he takes off in Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, Sunday, 31, July 2011, during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. AP / Mathieu Gucnot


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A hot air balloon flies over Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, Sunday, 31, July 2011, during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. AP / Mathieu Gucnot



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Hot air balloons take off from a field in Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, Sunday, 31, July 2011, during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. AP / Mathieu Gucnot



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Hot air balloons fly over Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, Sunday, 31, July 2011, during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. AP / Mathieu Gucnot



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Hot air balloons fly over Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, Sunday, 31, July 2011, during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. AP / Mathieu Gucnot



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Hot air balloons take off from a field in Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, Sunday, 31, July 2011, during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. AP / Mathieu Gucnot



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Hot air balloons prepare to take off in Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, on Wednesday July 27, 2011 in an attempt to set a world record for collective taking-off during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. AP / Alexandre Marchi



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Hot air balloons take off in Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, on Wednesday July 27, 2011 during an attempt to set a world record for collective taking-off during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. AP / Alexandre Marchi



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Hot air balloons prepare to take off in Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, on Wednesday July 27, 2011 in an attempt to set a world record for collective taking-off during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. AP / Alexandre Marchi



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Hot air balloons prepare to take off in Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, on Wednesday July 27, 2011 in an attempt to set a world record for collective taking-off during the International Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon Festival. AP / Alexandre Marchi



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Hot air balloon crews inflate their craft after dawn in a field on Rusk Co. Texas Rd 2121 south of the East Texas Regional Airport Saturday, July 30, 2011 for the start of the Great Texas Balloon Race . The pilots try to fly to the airport, skim the ground and put a ring around the pole in the center of the target area. Tyler Morning Telegraph / Herb Nygren Jr



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Hot air balloons approach the target area for the "key grab" Saturday, July 30, 2011 in the Great Texas Balloon at the East Texas Regional Airport south of Longview, Texas. The pilots try to skim the ground and put a ring around the pole in the center of the target area. Tyler Morning Telegraph / Herb Nygren Jr



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From left, Kyler Bussby and Greggory Lebus, inflate their hot air balloon in a field south of the East Texas Regional Airport for the Great Texas Balloon Race Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Longview. Tyler Morning Telegraph / Herb Nygren Jr



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Balloons fly to the East Texas Regional Airport south of Longview in the Great Texas Balloon Race Saturday, July 30, 2011. Tyler Morning Telegraph / Herb Nygren Jr



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David Hoover of Little Rock, Ark. prepares to pack his envelope up after flying during the Great Texas Balloon Race, Friday, July 29, 2011 in Longview, Texas. Longview News-Journal / Kevin Green



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Hot air balloons fill the skies during the Great Texas Balloon Race, Friday, July 29, 2011 in Longview, Texas. Longview News-Journal / Kevin Green



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Hot air balloons glow in the night as part of the opening ceremonies of the 33nd annual "Great Texas Balloon Race" in Longview, Texas on Friday night, July 29, 2011. AP / Scott M. Lieberman



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Pilot Michael Blum, right, of Union City, N.J., crew chief John Fairty, second right, of Greenwhich, Conn., and Don Wicks, of Hicksville, N.Y., untangle lines before inflating the Beemster Gourmet Dutch Cheese hot air balloon Friday, July 29, 2011, at the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Readington, N.J. The hot air balloon festival runs through Sunday. AP / Mel Evans



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A group of photographers and pilot Scott McClinton, of Prospect, KY, glow in the light of flames as he inflates the AT&T hot air balloon early Friday, July 29, 2011, at the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Readington, N.J. The hot air balloon festival runs through Sunday. AP / Mel Evans



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