Most balloonists need people to help them set up the balloon, land it, and various other tasks. A lot of them will accept volunteer work. In return, you get interesting, if not fantastic and englightening experiences, free food, and, occasionally, free hot-air balloon flghts, although you do have to get up repeatedly at the butt crack of dawn.

This is some of the work typically involved in being a memberof a balloon crew:

- holding a gasoline-powered fan in place so it doesn't vibrate away as the balloon is filling up (this can result in numb fingers)

- helping, along with other crew members and the captain, to carry the balloon around in a large bag

- packing and unpacking the balloon and spreading it out on the ground

-checking levels of, and filling, big propane tanks

- driving around in a chase vehicle to pick up the balloon when it lands

-consuming large amounts of champagne

-using your body weight to stop the ballon from dragging when it lands

-participating in jokes played by the captain on the passengers.

-buying deli food items for picnics

-pulling on various ropes to control the balloon as it's inflating, or to deflate it

-pleasantly socializing with strangers

If you can do any or all of these things, you might be an ideal candidate for a balloon crew. Some of the crews do offer monetary compensation, especially the ones that run advertising balloons for corporations but that's more like a real job and probably not as much fun.

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