America's Challenge Updates
Inside the Basket - Nancy Abruzzo, Balloon Fiesta Welcome Committee International Pilots Team Leader
May 27, 2020
Nancy Abruzzo is a Balloon Fiesta Navigator who helps create a seamless event for first-time Balloon Fiesta pilots. She has also created a Balloon Fiesta-based children’s book that brings imagination and wonder to story time.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, we learn more about how she welcomes international pilots to New Mexico and about her book.
1. Give a brief overview of your role with Balloon Fiesta and how you became involved with the organization.
I am delighted to assist with the International Pilot group specifically, the "First Timers". A dedicated group of volunteers work with me in making sure that each pilot is contacted, engaged and cared for while they embark on their first time flying at Balloon Fiesta. For most pilots, this is the most important event they will participate in. We truly hope to make what can be overwhelming for most, a seamless experience for pilots and crew. Our volunteers assist with airport and cargo pick up, making sure hotel and transportation are in order, all duties associated with Balloon Fiesta are met and some even have them over for a home cooked meal. In a true, New Mexico spirit! We all love being Ambassadors of Balloon Fiesta.
2. What is your favorite part about being involved with Balloon Fiesta in this role?
My favorite part is meeting new pilots and seeing their excitement to be participating, as well as, seeing returning international pilots each year. It's become the one time of year we all get to see each other.
3. What is it about Balloon Fiesta that makes so many international pilots want to be involved?
Again, I think for most pilots flying at Balloon Fiesta is a pinnacle of their flying careers. It's such a highlight for most. There is nothing like it!
4. What made you decide to write a children’s book and what is it about?
Oh my gosh, it was all around having young kids and seeing their reactions to Balloon Fiesta that inspired me. Their reactions are very different than an adult. Balloon Fiesta is an experience that showcases new sounds, images and lots of balloons. I really need to find the time to do another. I love sharing with the sweet kids, so adorable.
5. What tips do you have for first-time Balloon Fiesta guests?
It's worth the early start! Make it only about having a great family time, make it fun! So many memories are made at Balloon Fiesta. Don't worry about the lines, Balloon Fiesta is brilliant on managing them and every year it gets better.
To tune in for a special reading of Nancy’s book, “Pop Flop,”click here.