MITCHELL, Neb. — The Old West Balloon Fest in western Nebraska has gotten off to an eye-popping start, with brightly-colored hot-air balloons filling the sky over Scotts Bluff County shortly after dawn.

Participants and some just wanting to catch the view arrived before dawn Saturday at the Mitchell airfield. By 8 a.m., most of the 16 balloons had lifted off.

Last year’s event saw one balloon touch power lines after landing. No one was injured. Organizers say they’re hoping for a smooth event this year with no mishaps.

Another launch is scheduled just before 6:30 a.m. Sunday, and a balloon glow is set for 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Five Rocks Amphitheater.

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