Inside the Basket - Blair Morrison, Balloon Fiesta Navigator
Blair Morrison became involved with Balloon Fiesta during his time working with a local news television station and eventually transitioned to becoming a Balloon Fiesta Navigator. He now has volunteered with the organization for 29 years.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, we learn more about his role during the event and some of his favorite tips for first-time guests.
1. Give a brief overview of your Balloon Fiesta role:
Before Balloon Fiesta begins each year, I assist with prep work that includes inventory and sorting of Balloon Fiesta jackets and other items for the sponsors. I also assist with activation of the passes that are required to enter the Sponsor Hospitality area. During the event I help with front gate entry to the area as well as assisting sponsors during the event with their needs. Post- Balloon Fiesta, I help with tear down and with getting everything from the launch field back to the Balloon Fiesta office & warehouse.
2. How did you become involved with Balloon Fiesta?
When I moved to Albuquerque in 1987, I went to work for KOAT-TV in their commercial production department. It was just before the event so I got to assist with the TV station’s live broadcasts of the weekend mass ascensions and was immediately won over by the pure spectacle of the event. I became more involved with Balloon Fiesta when I produced video of the annual event for the local news station. I started working with the media relations group and then migrated to Sponsor Hospitality where I've been ever since.
3. What do you enjoy most about being involved with Balloon Fiesta?
I enjoy the sheer magnitude of the event. I often tell people how the event looks really nice on TV but being here at the event and the skies are filled with hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes, it's breathtaking.
4. What is your favorite part about being involved with Sponsor Hospitality?
I always enjoy the hot air balloons every year but I really enjoy seeing the same people every year. It's like a big family reunion with "family" coming from all over the world. I look forward to seeing my friends from Germany, U.K., Japan, the Netherlands, Czechia and Brazil that return to our event every year! I've also worked with some of the same volunteers for all these years and we stay in touch throughout the year and it's always fun to see them.
5. What advice do you have for first-time Balloon Fiesta guests?
The first piece of advice I would give is if you're coming to any event during Balloon Fiesta, get to Balloon Fiesta Park 30-60 minutes earlier than you think you should. There's plenty to see and do before the event plus the shopping and the event is much better on the field than being stuck in traffic. Next, dress in layers because it can be chilly before the sun comes up but it warms up after the sun rises over the Sandias. Lastly, HYDRATE! Drink lots of water because Albuquerque is a dry climate and you don't want to miss a single event of the Balloon Fiesta because you're not properly hydrated and remember your sunscreen because Albuquerque's elevation is around 5,200 ft.
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