Weather Bedevils Balloon Fest, But Weekend Still Delivers

Looming storms tampered with Hudson Valley’s Hot-Air celebration, but organizers say high hopes were still met

Hudson Valley residents had high hopes for the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s (DCRCOC) 26th annual Hot-Air Balloon Festival at Barton Orchards this past weekend, but weather had other plans.

Event coordinators and balloonists had their sites set on launching 100 times over the course of the three-day event, but none were successful due to looming thunderstorms, wind, low visibility, and rain. The DCRCOC updated their social media pages throughout the weekend, notifying guests on the status of the launches.

“We were unable to safely launch balloons during the weekend because of the unpredictable and unfavorable weather conditions,” explains Rich Kleban, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the DCRCOC. “In order to launch, wind cannot be above a certain speed, cloud cover and visibility have to be at certain requirements, and balloons certainly cannot launch in the rain. Unfortunately, every one of these conditions occurred this weekend and the balloonists did not feel it was safe to launch.”

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Although the weather tampered with takeoff, the festival continued on without its main attraction. Live music, food, and fireworks kept nearly 20,000 guests entertained while families frolicked with the Orchard’s farm animals. “The festival itself was a success and the majority of people had a great time,” confirms Kleban.

On Sunday, dark clouds staved off long enough for some tethered rides to take place in the early morning. In the evening, a select few balloons were inflated for event-goers to see, although they failed to fly skyward.

While the launches and balloon rides cannot be rescheduled, those who reserved outings prior to the event will receive their full deposit back.

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