The skies above Sussex, New Brunswick were lit-up with every colour of the rainbow for the start of the Atlantic Balloon Fiesta, Friday.

Thirty-six hot air balloons started to take flight at dawn for the event expected to bring in more than 60,000 visitors.

"I’ve lived here all my life and they are still really exciting to see to go up every day,” said vendor, Jeff Mitton. 

President of the festival, Debbie Harris said the Balloon Fiesta started 32 years ago by local business men as a way to boost tourism in the area.

"One of them knew a hot air balloon pilot and they thought let’s start and invite him and maybe he can invite a few friends and it has just evolved to the event we now host today,” Harris said.

Pilots from as a far as Brazil are taking part in this year’s festival.

The hot air balloons can only fly at dusk and dawn.

“The reason for that is, we have thermals when we have the sun out so we could get gusts of winds that are unsafe so we want to protect our pilots, their balloons and our passengers,” Harris said. 

The graceful and celebrated hot air balloons may be the highlight of the weekend, but you’ll find vendors around every turn of the fiesta.

Jocelyne McGraw and her family are continuing their tradition this year, after two decades of selling fudge at the event.

“First started out with my mum and dad coming and I would come and help them, I was a bit younger then and they would sell fudge and fudge cones and hang out for the weekend,” said McGraw. 

While there’s rain in the weekend’s forecast, organizers say pilots are still being optimistic.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.