There will be almost 600 balloons here over the 10 days….not all going up at the same time. Anyway many of the balloonists bring their own crew with them and many may come with themselves and one other person so the balloonists use volunteers for chase crew. I thought it would be interesting and if you volunteer you get you admission free for the entire time you are here. Admission is $8 per event so if there is a morning event and an evening event (5 out of 9 days do have both) and you want to go to both it is $16 for the day.
The balloon fiesta people match the volunteers with a balloonist. My pilot is Jerry Guziel. He and his wife Karen own “EagleView”. They live most of the time in Chicago but also have a home here as well. They are very down to earth, common people. The fiesta works with the elementary schools in town and the day before the fiesta starts, some of the balloonists go to an assigned school and set up their balloon and lift off from there, weather permitting. I met Jerry and Karen at Chelwood Elementary this morning at 6:00am. The first thing Karen did when I introduced myself to her was hug me. She then took me over and introduced me to Jerry and he hugged me. Within a few minutes several guys showed up to help. One of them was Karen’s cousin. He is also a balloonist and he came along to help Jerry and brought his crew with him. When I was introduced to them, several of them hugged me….maybe this is a balloonist thing?
Anyway, they were all very nice and I did not do much as there was a lot of help but it was interesting. It was too windy to lift off from the school. They had trouble just keeping it upright and on the ground.
I had signed up to volunteer starting Monday. Jerry and Karen had signed up for help Mon thru Fri next week. They have some people coming in to help on the weekend. Jerry said I could come and help on the weekend if I wanted or I could just enjoy the fiesta. That was my thought from the beginning. I am going to just take in everything for the next two days and then help them starting Monday.
We were thru at the school by 8:30am. I went thru a large arts and crafts tent that is set up for the weekend. It was pretty high-end. More art than crafts. A majority of the items focused on Indian influences.
I drove around “Old Town” and then came back to the RV park after lunch and hung out. I went to a 5:30pm movie. I saw “Perfect Pitch”. It was pretty good….kind of like a two hour “Glee” only they are in college.
Tomorrow the fiesta begins with a 5:45am Dawn Patrol, 6:30am Morning Glow, 7:00am mass lift-off (weather permitting), 5:45pm Twinkle, Twinkle Glow, 6:00pm Gas Balloon Race, 8:00pm Fireworks.
I successfully used my generator for the first time. It started on the second pull. I ran it to power my hot water heater. It only took a few minutes, then I turned if off while I took a shower. A little later I turned it on to use my hair dryer and charge my netbook and cell phone.