The Hudson Valley Balloon Festival
is quite the tradition. The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce has been hosting it for 25 years. But this year’s event is, in many ways, completely new. With a festival atmosphere centered around five timed balloon launches, and fringed with live music, food trucks, tethered balloon and helicopter rides, and activities throughout the weekend, this might just be the biggest Balloon Festival yet.
Hosted in Poughquag at Barton Orchards
, there will be lots of family-friendly activities: a petting zoo, crafts, hay mazes, hayrides, a tap room, bakery and farmer’s market, fire pits, ball toss, and two stages of live music. The farm has a capacity for several thousand people, so the festival doesn’t feel crowded.
With friendly, professional balloonists from all over the East coast, festival-goers can watch the gigantic hot-air balloons inflate and launch in five sublime displays throughout the festival weekend. There will be two sunrise launches on Saturday and Sunday at 6a. Free and open to the public, gates open at 5a with limited festival activities and breakfast food trucks. It’s early, but it’s worth it. “It’s a spectacular scene,” says the DCRCOC’s Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Rich Kleban. “Twenty-five balloons inflate and launch as the sun rises, it’s spectacularly visual.” The whole festival re-opens at noon, and there’s another balloon launch at 6p on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, followed by live music, dancing, and fireworks on Friday night.
“From the Chamber’s point of view, this is a spectacular community event,” says Kleban. “It not only brings people together, but brings people to the region from surrounding counties and states.”
Don’t miss the moon glow, where about ten large, colorful balloons will inflate and be lit from the inside, so they glow together, tethered to the festival grounds.
The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival at Barton Orchards at 63 Apple Tree Lane in Poughquag, with participating balloon launches at Migliorelli Farm at 245 Guski Road in Red Hook (on Friday and Saturday evenings): July 8-10, 2016; sunrise launches from 5-7a, gates open at noon for the festival. Morning launches are free. Festival is $10 per person for Friday and Saturday, in advance, with a limited number of tickets at the gate for $12. It’s $5 per person on Sunday, at the gate only. Children under 3 are always free. All-access weekend passes are $17.95. Buy tickets! Bring cash for rides.
All launches are weather dependent, so check the Chamber’s website as well as its Facebook and Twitter pages for updates. Both on- and off-site parking are free and off-site parking includes shuttle service when necessary. Allow extra time for traffic so you don’t miss seeing the balloons inflate and launch. Share your photos using hashtag #dcrcocBalloon.