Hudson Valley Balloon Festival this weekend in Union Vale

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

Below, food trucks, games, music and other activities will feed 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 Hot Air 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 certain COVID-19 related safety restrictions, including advance ticketing with no sales. tickets at the door, in part because of 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 scheduled. There will be five mass balloon launches and entry times – one Friday afternoon and two Saturday and Sunday, at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Balloons of many colors, as well as more original balloon shapes – such as an alien and another with the appearance of a tuxedo – should be spotted on the horizon. However, the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, which organizes 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 began as a free event in which balloonists took off from scattered areas around the county, the festival grew into a paid Chamber of Commerce attraction in 2016, first held at Barton Orchards in Poughquag, then to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck. More than 25,000 people regularly attend.

Due to the pandemic, last year’s festival was scaled down and held as a drive-in event, during which balloons were launched, but attendees had to stay close to their cars.

“There were no vendors, no food or drink – there weren’t even toilets last year. This year we have it all again, how we have run this event in the past “said Rich Kleban, the executive vice president. President and COO 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, tethered balloon rides, hot air balloon presentations each day at 4 p.m., and other games and activities.

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

The Hudson Valley 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 have sold out months in advance, tethered hot air balloon rides, where the balloon remains anchored to the ground with a rope, traveling only 75 feet in the air, can be purchased locally for 25 $.

Those in attendance for the morning launches will be able to take tethered walks, and a morning yoga class is offered for an additional fee, but no other festival items will be available. Gates 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 leads them to spend money here. They stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, go to 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 coverings must be worn for attendees who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, and such individuals must observe six feet for social distancing. Customers who violate this policy will be asked to leave, according to the Chamber of Commerce.

No pets are 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, are $14 for a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening; $7 for a Saturday or Sunday matinee; 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 force of wind makes the take-off of balloons dangerous. Despite flash flood warnings for Thursday due to heavy rain on Wednesday, the storm is expected to subside Thursday evening, leaving the weekend forecast partly cloudy and calm, according to the National Weather Service.

No refunds will be given if balloon launches are cancelled.

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 Balloon Festival Hotline at 845-454-1701 or visit balloonfesthv.com.

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