At the balloon fest, spotting Zebras can be fun, but they're not what you might think.
Actually 'Zebras' control the take off sequence for balloons. They're in communication with the entire field and can give permission for balloons to take off that are not designated as the next ones up.
There were quite a number of these folks on the grounds; some had distinctive hats or interesting scarves or jewelry to set them apart. They were extremely busy directing the vast amount of balloons the day we visited.
A program guide accompanying the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was a mere $6, so I would advise those attending to purchase this handy publication (143 pages).
You'll find a map of Fiesta Park, a listing of the balloons, their pilots and country of origin, plus a history of the event and other worthwhile tidbits.
It was fascinating leafing through the guide to identify each of these highflying crafts! It makes a great keepsake of this memorable event.
The Chase Crew is comprised of people who follow the balloons to their landing site and help to pack them up.
The domestic balloonists usually have friends who help them, but they can also use people who stand in as volunteers to do the job. This is VERY helpful to those balloonists who come from outside of the country.
At the conclusion of the fiesta, its a tradition that balloonists dip their gondolas into the Rio Grande River. This is called THE SPLASH AND DASH. The balloons are taken up into the air once again and guided to their landing site.
Once the balloon lands after its final descent, rides are often offered to the crew as a means of thanking them.