Community Link ABQ has a long history of involvement with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. In this month’s Inside the Basket, Greg talks about how his organization got involved and what volunteers have done to lend a helping hand.
How did you get involved with Balloon Fiesta?
This is my 10th year of involvement with hot air balloons. My family started crewing and pulled me in. For the last five years, I've headed up the Community Link involvement with the Balloon Fiesta.
Describe what Community Link does for the Balloon Fiesta each year.
Community Link is a charitable Albuquerque nonprofit corporation in the Points of Light, Hands on Network of Volunteer Action Centers. We coordinate groups to sell official Balloon Fiesta merchandise and the groups are reimbursed for their efforts from the proceeds. Also, we coordinate teams coming in from out of town to do service projects. If their trip falls during the period when the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF) needs help we usually schedule them there. One year, we had a group paint each of 55-gallon trash barrels and another year, they crewed for one of the Wells Fargo balloons.
What do you enjoy most about being involved with Balloon Fiesta?
The fun atmosphere and the great volunteers we interact with keep bringing me back.
If there was one thing you wish more people knew about Balloon Fiesta, what would it be?
People need to appreciate the amount of work that goes into preparing and taking down the field infrastructure. There are hundreds of people involved and a lot of them are volunteers. AIBF can always use volunteers, especially in September and October each year. If you want to have a good time - be a volunteer.
What tips do you have for visitors hoping to make the most of their Balloon Fiesta experience?
Wear layers. We see a lot of cold people.
Do you have a favorite balloon?
The Wells Fargo Stagecoach balloon is one of my favorites. What makes it enjoyable is the great crew and people from Wells Fargo.