Inside the Basket - Matt Guthrie, Balloon Fiesta Board of Directors President
Matt Guthrie is the President of the Balloon Fiesta Board of Directors.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, Matt shares his favorite Balloon Fiesta memory, how he became involved with Balloon Fiesta and how his first Balloon Fiesta shaped his ballooning career.
1. As mentioned in his month's podcast episode of "A view from Lift-Off Lane," you share your first Balloon Fiesta experience from 1972, where you watched the balloons launch from the hood of your family's car. How has that experience shaped your ballooning career?
The magic of watching the balloons come to life during inflation and drifting off into the sky instilled a sense of awe and fascination in me. I spent many hours as a kid making balloons out of plastic drop cloths, flying them and chasing them on my bike. As I got older, I worked for balloon repair stations, became a pilot, volunteered at Balloon Fiesta and other events, flew corporate gigs and eventually opened my own balloon repair station, all driven by that spark of fascination in 1972.
2. You first joined the Balloon Fiesta Board of Directors in 2006 and now serve as the President of that same board. What has been your proudest moment during this time?
I think my proudest moment was being able to introduce Team Fastrax to Balloon Fiesta fans. This team dedicates all of its parachute jumps to a fallen soldier and is a perfect addition to an already awesome event. This year, they will jump during the evening sessions, on October 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9. The full Event Schedule can be found, here: https://balloonfiesta.com/Event-Schedule
3. What is your favorite Balloon Fiesta memory?
One of my favorite Balloon Fiesta memories was from the 1991 event when I was flying for the local phone company. I was flying close to the Holiday Inn Pyramid hotel which had a large patio area on their roof which was being used for a breakfast buffet for their guests. Winds were very light, I flew up the side of the building and over the top of the buffet area when one of my passengers yelled down to the breakfast guests “Hey, how about a muffin?” Before I knew it, everyone within arm’s reach of a muffin had one one headed our way. The sad part was we only caught one muffin.
4. What are you most looking forward to at the 49th Balloon Fiesta?
Seeing pilots, crews and guests back on Balloon Fiesta Park for Balloon Fiesta. I do not think I am alone in wanting to get see and feel the excitement of Balloon Fiesta once again.
5. What is one thing Balloon Fiesta visitors should include on their list of activities at the 49th event?
Finding official souvenirs and memorabilia to take home with you. As we approach the 50th Balloon Fiesta, there are items from the 49ththat will be part of collectable sets, so don’t miss out on the 49th’s contribution.
6. What tips do you have for first-time Balloon Fiesta guests?
Arrive early, stay late, and take it all in. Dress in layers and fully charge whatever device you take pictures on. There is so much to see at Balloon Fiesta and every flight/event is unique in its own way. First time visitors are always overwhelmed with the sheer size of the event, so try and visit different locations around the field to get a variety of experiences.
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