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Around here it’s very obvious that it’s indeed a hot-air balloon, which was a real (and illegal) craze around the time. Groups of young men would join and create ever more complicated and elaborate balloons, trying to see who would make the best. They even included fireworks in some, huge signs and so on, check the previous links.
The activity suffered in more recent years, though, as authorities toughened the laws and suppressed the dangerous activity, which provoked fires and endangered the air space. Rival groups of balloon makers would also fight over the balloons that reached the ground, sometimes with great violence.
But even then, at great risk, some people are still launching those balloons. The star balloon in the image above, clearly the kind of the “spiky UFO”, was launched just last year.