Over the course of the next three days, flight enthusiasts from across the northeast will send their brightly colored envelopes and wicker baskets into the mid-Hudson skies to celebrate the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s (DCRCOC) 26th annual Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival.
In a change from recent years, this year’s event—which kicks off at noon today, with a mass launch of 25 balloons beginning at 6 pm—will take place at Barton Orchards in Poughquag, with an additional two balloons stationed at Migliorelli Farm in Red Hook. Nearly 100 other launches will take place throughout the weekend, including ones at sunrise (5-7 am) and in the evening (6 pm) on Saturday and Sunday.
Along with the new location, hours have been expanded to accommodate the array of family activities and concessions available, including access to a petting zoo, crafts, hayrides, food trucks, vendors, live music, and fireworks.
“It’s a completely different event than it has been in the past,” promises Rich Kleban, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the DCRCOC. “It’s really a complete festival.”
Improvements aside, past staples like the Moon Glow—where balloons illuminate the festival grounds—will still be a vital part. Attendees will also have the opportunity to soar in the balloons themselves, or via tether rides, even if conditions don’t entirely comply.
“Right now the forecast is up in the air—no pun intended,” quips Kleban. “The event happens rain or shine, but whether the balloons launch are at the sole discretion of the balloonists.”
General Admission is $10 in advance, which includes an all-day activities pass. A limited number of tickets will be available at the gate for $12. Children 3 and under are free.