We are watching all of the hot air balloons on our first morning here at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and Ellen is taking hundreds of pictures and letting people know that we are here. After getting some photos, Marissa calls Ellen to tell her that a friend from college is on the Chase Crew for one of the balloons.
Sarah Hatch is one of Marissa's friends and we remember her from her college days at Becker and apparently she is part of the crew for Nelly B, a giant Pink Elephant shape balloon that has been part of the Fiesta for over a decade. Between Marissa and Ellen, they got a message to Sarah and arranged for us to join them on the launch field for the afternoon event. We helped out a little and had such a great time that we decided to hang out with them all weekend.
Ellen handed out "Official Nelly B Collector Cards" to all the little kids and I helped do some of the "Crew" work on the balloon. This Balloon stuff may be fun, but it is a lot of work packing, unpacking, inflating and launching!
We had an awesome time with the entire crew and with Peter (the Captain) who is from Belgium and launches the balloon in events all over the world. In fact, our last official task of the event was to pack up and crate the Nelly B so she could be shipped to Mexico for her next Balloon Adventure.
At the end of the weekend we got invited to the farewell dinner and had a great time with everybody in a more relaxed setting. We even got invited back next year. We'll have to see if we can fit it into our travel schedule.