By Grace Usher

The 9th Annual Lake Havasu Balloon Festival is coming up fast, hitting Windsor Beach January 10-13, 2019. The event brings thousands of visitors to Lake Havasu City annually and is only made possible with the help of volunteerism.

This year, the festival is looking for volunteers to help in a number of various positions.

“I need at least 60 more volunteers for ground crew.” said flight operations manager Cheryl Maclean.

Crew assist with a fan at the Havasu Balloon Festival 2018. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

As members of a ground crew, volunteers have the opportunity to work directly with pilots of balloons. They will help unravel and set up balloons, follow the pilot from the ground during flights and assist in landing and repacking the balloon.

This position is a hands-on, moderate lifting position and requires the volunteer to be in fair physical condition.

For those who want to help with balloons but do not want the commitment to a free-flight crew, there are opportunities to help with tethered rides. Tethered rides are held at the event grounds. Crew members assist customers getting into flights and pilots with set-up and pack-up of balloons.

Pilots, crew, and volunteers pose for a group photo at the 2018 Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Volunteers have the opportunity upon sign-up to choose the balloon (round or shaped) of their choice to assist.

“We ask that volunteers stay with the pilot for as long as they are needed throughout the weekend.”

The main need for volunteers is parking and gate. A parking volunteer is required to stand at the parking lots to help guide visitors to open parking areas, answer parking-related questions and direct visitors to the front gate.

At the gate, volunteers assist in ticket sales, wristband application and directing visitors to the event entrance. This position requires light labor and is a great place for those who do not wish to be too labor intensive but would like to help.

Volunteers serve dinner for pilots, crew, and sponsors in the VIP tent at the Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

As a volunteer, individuals receive a T-shirt, commemorative pin and participation in free pizza and the post-event ice cream social events. All volunteers receive a wristband for weekend-long event entry.

There will be an exclusive parking lot and shuttle service to and from the event for volunteers.

The minimum requirement for volunteering is four hours but volunteers are encourage to sign-up for multiple shifts.

The official volunteer meeting will be at the London Bridge Convention Center, 1477 Queens Bay,  Jan. 5, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. This will give individuals who have not registered the opportunity to do so as well as get assigned their shifts and placements.

Special shapes are on display during the 2018 Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

For more Volunteer information and application:

This year, there will be new and familiar balloons, especially regarding shapes! Here are the featured shape balloons for the 9th Annual Balloon Festival:

Tom Cat and Terry the Mouse:

Tom Cat Balloon photo courtesy Havasu Balloon Fest.

Terry The Mouse balloon photo courtesy Havasu Balloon Fest.

Rocket the Flying Squirrel

Rocket the Flying Squirrel photo courtesy Havasu Balloon Festival.

Princess Nelly

Princess Nelly balloon photo courtesy Havasu Balloon Fest.

Buster the Bulldog

Buster the Bulldog balloon photo courtesy Havasu Balloon Fest.

Kermie the Frog

Simba the Lion King

Mr. Zing the Zebra

Mr. Zee balloon photo courtesy Havasu Balloon Festival.

Darth Vader

Darth Vader hot air balloon

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene


Pilots participate in the night glow Thursday night during the 2018 Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

photo Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

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