Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival this weekend in Union Vale


Over central Dutchess County, colorful balloons are expected to dot the sky this weekend.

Below them, food trucks, games, music, and other activities will nourish and entertain visitors, as the Hudson Valley marks the unofficial end of summer with an annual tradition.

Tymor Park in Union Vale will host the 30th annual Hudson Valley Balloon Festival this weekend, a return to form for an event limited a year ago by the pandemic.

While this year’s event will bring back the carnival atmosphere the festival has become known for in recent years, it will still include some COVID-19 security restrictions, including advance ticketing with no tickets sold at the door. , in part because of the limited parking.

John Piper prepares to inflate the hot air balloon during the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck on July 12, 2019.

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A total of 75 balloon launches are planned. There will be five mass balloon launches and entry times – one Friday afternoon and two each on Saturday and Sunday, at 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Balloons of many colors, as well as more original balloon shapes – like an alien and one with the look of a tuxedo – should be spotted on the horizon. However, the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the festival each year, warns that balloon launches are at the discretion of their pilots; in recent years they have often had to be canceled due to high winds or other inclement weather.

What started as a free event in which balloonists took off from areas scattered around the county, the festival became a paid Chamber of Commerce attraction in 2016, first held at Barton Orchards in Poughquag and then in Dutchess County. Fairgrounds at Rhinebeck. More than 25,000 attend regularly.

Due to the pandemic, last year’s festival was an event carved out and organized like a drive-in, in which balloons were launched, but participants had to stay close to their cars.

“There were no vendors, no food or drink – there was not even a toilet there last year. This year we have it all again, how we have organized this event in the past, “said Rich Kleban, executive vice president. President and Chief Operating Officer of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

What to expect

Each of the three days will feature an array of food and drink vendors, live music, hot air balloon rides, hot air balloon presentations each day at 4 p.m. and other games and activities.

In the evening there will be a Moon Glow, when the balloons are inflated on the ground and lit using their burner, setting up a light show with music. There will also be fireworks each evening.

The Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival hosted by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck on July 12, 2019.

While full hot air balloon rides sold out months in advance, tethered hot air balloon rides, where the balloon remains anchored to the ground with a rope, rising only 75 feet in the air, can be purchased locally for $ 25. $.

Those attending the morning launches will be able to take captive walks, and a morning yoga class is offered for an additional fee, but no other festival elements will be available. Doors open Saturday and Sunday at 5:30 a.m. for morning launches and close at 9 a.m. before reopening at 2:30 p.m. for afternoon guests.

“This event brings people to the Hudson Valley and causes them to spend money here. They stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, visit our historic places and shop, ”Kleban said. “A number of people come here for this event and it certainly helps the economy.

The Hudson Valley Balloon Festival, hosted by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck on July 7, 2018.

The festival will follow the safety measures of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Face covers must be worn for participants who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, and those people must observe a social distance of six feet. Customers not respecting this policy will be asked to leave, according to the Chamber of Commerce.

Animals are not allowed on the grounds, but the chamber encourages visitors to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and sunscreen. On-site parking is free.

The Hudson Valley Balloon Festival, hosted by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck on July 7, 2018.

How to attend

Tickets, which are only sold online, cost $ 14 for a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening; $ 7 for a morning on Saturday or Sunday; or $ 23.95 for an all-weekend pass.

The total number of balloon launches will depend on the weather and the discretion of the pilot. The slightest wind makes the takeoff of balloons dangerous. Despite flash flood warnings for Thursday Due to heavy rains on Wednesday, the storm is expected to ease Thursday evening, leaving the weekend forecast partially cloudy and calm, according to the National Weather Service.

No refund will be given in the event of cancellation of balloon launches.

The festival’s social media pages – @HVballoonfestival on Instagram and Facebook – will be updated throughout the weekend on launches, weather and any changes that may occur.

For more information, call the Hot Air Balloon Festival hotline at 845-454-1701 or visit

Isabel Keane covers new trends for The Poughkeepsie Journal, Journal News and Times Herald-Record. Click on here for his latest stories. Follow her on Twitter @ijkeane or send him advice at [email protected]

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