Thousands of volunteers work behind the scenes at Balloon Fiesta

Balloon Fiesta

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While you were looking up at the sky, thousands of volunteers and city workers were taking care of the small details that keep the International Balloon Fiesta running as smoothly and perfectly as possible.

Volunteers were working meticulously behind the scenes, making sure every single detail was taken care of.

“If we don’t dot our I’s and cross our T’s, this park would not be the showcase it is,” said Susan Rice, Program and Facility manager for the Parks and Recreation Department.

Rice started her days at Fiesta long before the sun came up, before gates opened and before the balloons even began inflating.

“My crew and I are out here taking care of the facility every morning starting at 4 a.m.,” said Rice.

Rice says it’s all of the little things, that probably go unnoticed, that make a big difference in the end.

From filling ruts in the ground, to keeping an eye on the trash and all of the restrooms, to making sure everybody’s safe by coordinating communication between all of the first responders.

“What my crew and I do is make sure the infrastructure behind the scenes is working properly and if you don’t know that we exist then we are doing our job really well,” said Rice.

Rice knows a lot of people don’t think about that behind the scenes work, and that’s just the way she likes it. But, all of that effort didn’t go unnoticed.

“They do keep it clean and really run well,” said Kyle Conway, Las Vegas, New Mexico.

“Very organized, very clean, amazed that you get to go out on the field,” said James and Betty Lynn Gregg of Branson, Missouri.

Even though Sunday was the last day for this year’s Balloon Fiesta, the work doesn’t end there.

Organizers say they will be planning for the 2017 International Balloon Fiesta starting Monday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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