Look up! Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival this weekend

The 27th annual Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 7 to 9, with hot-air balloonists from all over the country converging on our region to float en masse above the Hudson River. More than 100 balloon takeoffs are scheduled, weather permitting. Free morning balloon launches will take place at 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with viewpoints all around the area.

Sponsored by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the three-day event is centered around a family-friendly festival held at Barton Orchards on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with afternoon balloon launches at 6 p.m. General admission costs $12 at the gate or $10 in advance, or $17.95 for a weekend pass. Advance tickets are available online. There is a Sunday component to the event, too, with the cost to attend $5 at the gate only.

Activities at Barton Orchards include live music, a petting zoo, hayrides, a haunted house, gemstone mining, shooting gallery, pedal carts for kids and adults, bouncy ponies, a rope maze, labyrinth, big tube slides and games.


Additional happenings of interest include Moon Glow launches on both Friday and Saturday nights this year, featuring the stunning spectacle of balloons lit up after dark. Tether rides on balloons (tied securely to the ground with ropes that allow for just enough liftoff to give riders a thrill) will cost $20 (cash only). And for a fee of $225, actual rides-in-the-sky in the hot-air balloons are available. Private helicopter pilots will also be on to charter rides.

Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival, Friday-Sunday, July 7-9, free & ticketed activities, Barton Orchards, 63 Apple Tree Lane, Poughquag; (845) 454-1701, www.dcrcoc.org/balloonfestival.