Spending two days at the 27th Annual Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival, it was hard to keep my head out of clouds with all of the festivities at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, which hosted the event, making this year's balloon bash a 25-reason, memorable experience!
Not much more to say than that! To see a whole bunch of huge, colorful, hot air balloons up close is amazing!
While most of the world is still asleep, only a few adventurous souls get up super early to witness a balloon launch!
With the Fairgrounds full of vendors of all types, there is a plethora of fun and useful hot air balloon-inspired merchandise from which to choose.
One of the nicest of its kind, the Dutchess County Fairgrounds is well laid out, organized, clean and expansive to enjoy all the festivities of a hot air balloon festival.
The Warrior Wagon is the horse-drawn War Wagon which was created by Frank Castella, Sr. in order to honor our Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. A wonderful part of this festive event.
No shortage of music to create a lively atmosphere throughout the event!
If you are a fan of fried dough and Zeppoles, you will find some of the best here! Light, airy, not greasy and full of powdered sugary goodness!
Slides and bouncy house galore for the little ones to enjoy and stay busy, making the festival a perfect family destination.
Enjoy taking a step back in time to the early 20th Century, viewing the antique airplanes gracing the skies!
For the perfect view of the Fairgrounds, Musical entertainment and of course, the Night Glow and Candlestick Glow, the Grandstand is the place to be.
A special treat for the first night of the 2018 festival due to winds too high for the planned Balloon Glow, it was an incredible sight.
from Aerophone 50-piece band
Did you know that Hudson Valley has an amazing community band? Aerophone, a 50-piece band, under the direction of Richard Holod, who founded Aerophone in 2009 as another outlet for musicians who are passionate about band literature and want to enrich their playing experience by rehearsing and performing with others who share their enthusiasm. Listening to music under the stars is pure joy.
An exciting aspect of attending the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival, is that it takes place in the historic and quaint town of Rhinebeck, New York. With a history over 300 years old, it is a mecca for art & culture, fine dining, casual bistros, and has been touted as one of America’s best Gourmet towns. Stroll the streets, browse the little boutiques and snap away at historic buildings such as the Rhinebeck Post Office, Beekman Arms, the oldest inn in America and Benner House.
Upstate New York is truly breathtaking, with its crisp, clean air and with hot air balloon launch time being first thing in the morning, that cool country air is a great way to start the day!
It's hard to imagine that these massive balloons are folded up and stored in bags, but they are! And as the expert ballooners do their thing, getting ready for launch, as a visitor, you have the opportunity to stand as close as you want (without, of course, getting in the way of their set up), to see the whole process, from laying out the balloon to its inflation with the use of a propane burner, to an upright position, once fully inflated!
Being up close to these air floating wonders allows you to hear the fiery burning sound of the propane burners that supply the hot air that keep these giant balloons afloat. The sound is very cool and almost eery but quite an experience to hear!
Only two and one-half hours from New York City and Long Island, Rhinebeck is a great destination any time, but with the chance to experience hot air balloons up close is a most memorable event around which to create an overnight or weekend visit.
It's hard to stop snapping away! All the colors, different balloons, it is all one big photo op!
If you are not up for the heights of a hot air balloon ride (or the cost, which can go well over $200 per person), a tethered balloon ride might be more your style. Safely tethered to the ground, and at a cost of only $20, you can try your hand at hovering above the ground in the basket of a magnificent hot air balloon.
No need for dressy clothes or fancy outfits. This is a casual and comfortable destination.
Photo ops are great but video ops are even better for reliving an experience over and over!
A hop, skip and a jump away is beautiful Hyde Park, the former home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This historical site has much to experience and combining a bit of history after the fun of hot air balloons really rounds out a visit to Dutchess County.
23. Great Experience For Kids
No matter how much kids may balk at getting up early, seeing those hot air balloons will leave an impression on them for life!
Having been to other hot air balloon festivals, this one is a manageable size for seeing and doing everything offered. Although the Dutchess County Fairgrounds is expansive and large, the festival is quite intimate and has all the charm of a small-town America.
Not to fear - if you missed the festival this year, you can always catch it next year, in 2019 at the 28th Annual Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival!