ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – What does it take to pull off a mass ascension at the Balloon Fiesta? It takes thousands of volunteers who make sure pilots and guest have a first-class experience every year at the Balloon Fiesta.

Behind the scenes, the people who help paint the picture in those Albuquerque skies include a balloon meister, a chief launch director and a chief safety officer.

Each morning the three of them coordinate with the launch directors known as zebras. The zebras are people on the ground who give pilots the green light to lift off from numbered spots on the field grid.

Before every launch, Balloon Fiesta officials meet with pilots to make sure the winds are just right. At the end of the day, organizers say none of this would be possible without the volunteers.