Volunteering at the Balloon Fiesta
Become a Balloon Fiesta Navigator!
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is looking for upbeat, enthusiastic, caring people to join our team of Navigators!
Balloon Fiesta is a large, complex event requiring the more than 1,000 volunteers who help before, during and after the event. These volunteers, called "Navigators," are critical to every area of operations. They provide guest services, administrative services, balloon coordination and safety, set-up and logistics, and more in over 40 different areas. This variety of needs allows just about any person, with any skills, talents or interests, to experience Balloon Fiesta from a new perspective.
Learn more about volunteering at Balloon Fiesta at our "Volunteering FAQs."
Additional information, video links, Navigator Handbook, and application links can be found below in "Navigator Central".
Questions? Send us an email.
Thank you for your interest in becoming a Navigator at Balloon Fiesta!
Welcome to the place where Balloon Fiesta Navigators can find all the information pertinent to volunteering at Balloon Fiesta.
If you are interested in becoming a Navigator at Balloon Fiesta, please read the Navigator Handbook and complete the Navigator Application:
Log in to Your Navigator Profile
- Need to update your contact information, shirt or jacket size, or other registration data? Navigator Profile
- Forgot your password? Password Reset
- For a tutorial about how to use your profile: Profile Tutorial
- If your team uses self-scheduling, you can view the self-scheduling tutorial: Self-Scheduling Tutorial
Problems or questions? Send us an email.
Navigators on Facebook
Join our Facebook group: AIBF Navigators. This is a private group for current AIBF Navigators only. It's a great place to meet and engage with fellow volunteers, get event updates, and have fun year-round!
Below are the Basic Training videos. Click on the name of the training and you will be taken directly to the video and verification form.
1. History of Ballooning - 2018 Video........Learn the basics of hot air balloon flight and
the history of ballooning. (11 minutes)
2. History of Balloon Fiesta - 2018 Video........Learn the history of Balloon Fiesta. (10 minutes)
3. Guest Service - 2018 Video........Learn the most important principles to providing top-notch guest (customer) service. (33 minutes)
4. Public Safety and Security - 2019 Video........Learn how the Public Safety team ensures that Balloon Fiesta is one of the safest events in the country, and how you can help support their efforts. This training was required in 2019 and must be renewed every other year. (27 minutes)
5. 2019 Balloon Fiesta Event Information* - 2019 Video........Get the latest details, specifics and changes for this year's event, such as prices, locations, etc. (22 minutes) Note: The 2020 video will be posted in early September. It will replace this video and will be required viewing.
*This video is updated yearly and is required viewing each year.
IMPORTANT! Don't forget to click on the link in each video description (YouTube) to get credit for watching the video!
Merit Classes are optional, "extra-credit" classes offered to our Navigators for a variety of reasons. We want to invest in you - to offer you additional skills to help you be a better Navigator and to give you training and education you can use in other areas of your life. These classes are free to Navigators who work a minimum of 5 shifts or 25 hours per year. For video classes, complete the video verification form for each video. Link to form is located in the YouTube video description.
Video Merit Classes
- Gas Ballooning for Navigators - A more indepth look at the world of Gas Ballooning with Barbara Fricke. Updated June 2019 (45 min)
- Gas Ballooning 101 - Similar to Ballooning 101, but focuses on the sport of gas ballooning. (11 min)
- America’s Challenge - The history of America’s Challenge Event. Updated 2018 (18 min)
- Advanced Customer Service - Learn techniques for dealing with Guest issues. Updated June 2019 (55 min)
- History of AIBF - A more indepth look at the history of the AIBF. Updated June 2019 (38 min)
- The 2019 Event Presentation - A more indepth look at the 2019 Event and the many activities that take place during the 9 days. Updated August 2019 (59 min) NOTE: This is NOT the required Event video! See #5 under Basic Training above.
In-person Merit Classes
CPR Certification, First Aid and AED - This class offers full CPR certification. Classes are offered in spring and summer. The CPR Classes are available to Navigators and are offered in person in Albuquerque.
Other Merit Opportunities
Advanced Ballooning (Crew Training) Pick an option from the list below! You only need one to get the credit. All evidence must be submitted via email. In the subject field please note Advanced Crew Evidence.
- Attend a AAAA (or equivalent ) Crew Seminar. Dates will be announced.
- Already BFA certified crew? Submit your certificates showing your level of completion.
- Complete the BFA Crew Achievement paperwork and submit. NO BFA membership needed.
- Already a pilot? Submit a copy of your pilot license and logbook entry of last flight review.
Balloon Fiesta contracts a number of local service organizations, such as the Civitans or Kiwanis, to manage areas such as parking lots, admission booths and merchandise sales. Those organizations then staff those areas with smaller organizations, who then receive a portion of sales proceeds from that area. This allows the smaller organization to fund-raise for various causes.
If your group is looking for fundraising opportunities, contact the Balloon Fiesta staff person listed below, and they will connect you with the appropriate management organization.
Admissions, parking and fee-for-parking
If your group would like to help in one of these areas, Dennis Christiansen,Transportation Manager, at (505) 821-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selling souvenir and glow products via roving carts. If your group would like to help in this area, contact Erica Hahn, Concessions Manager, at (505) 821-1000 or email@example.com.
For other group inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chase Crew Registration
If you are interested in joining a chase crew for the 2020 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, please complete the Chase Crew Application beginning in July. Applications must be completed by August 31.
Many of our Navigators travel from out-of-state in their RV, and locals may request an RV space because of the hours they'll be volunteering. Therefore, Balloon Fiesta makes a limited number of RV spaces available to Navigators in trade for volunteer hours.
While Balloon Fiesta does not offer paid workamp positions, some Navigators volunteers who work additional hours may receive RV parking with hook-ups and other benefits when a certain level of volunteer hours is reached.
- Most workamp positions are allotted to the RV Team. Positions on the RV Team are limited and assignment must be approved by the RV Team Leaders.
- Workamper tasks may involve physical labor, such as pulling weeds, moving stones and rocks, and picking up trash to prepare the RV lots for the event.
- Workampers must meet the basic Navigator training requirements, which consists of watching five 30-minute (approximate) videos each followed by a short quiz and a passing grade of 80% or higher.
While we would like to be able to accommodate all requests, we have a limited number of camping spots, and an even more limited quantity of premium campsites.
We will consider all requests that meet the following criteria:
- 40-50 hours volunteered per person in 1 calendar year = 1/2 off dry camping (Normally $40/night)
- 51-120 hours volunteered per person in 1 calendar year = free dry camping (Normally $40/night)
- 121+ hours volunteered per person in 1 calendar year = free premium camping (Normally $95/night)
Hours will be verified with your Team Leader and you may be required to track your hours electronically. Navigators must abide by all standard rules and regulations that apply to RV camping.
Note: Out-of-town and out-of-state Navigators are given preference when awarding RV spaces. Local Navigators will be assigned an RV space based on availability.
- Depending on the number of shifts and hours worked, Workampers who meet the above requirements may receive discounted or free RV parking.
Workampers also receive full Navigator packs, which include:
- Admission into the 9-day event
- Access to the Navigator Hospitality Tent for meals and snacks
- The current year's Navigator shirt
- Invitations to a variety of Balloon Fiesta parties
- The current year's Navigator Outerwear Item
- The current year's Navigator lapel pin
- The current year's Official Calendar
If you are interested in being part of our Navigator team, please complete the Navigator Application on the "Navigator Central" tab. Please note that there are a limited number of RV spaces available.
Questions? Send us an email.