Hot Air Balloon Festivals in France and U.S. as presented by: Sacramento Bee

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. 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. 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. 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.

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