As Hudson prepares to welcome up to twenty hot-air balloons to the St. Croix River valley this weekend, balloonists and festival goers could experience some of the coldest temps of the season, so far. But a few degrees below zero isn’t all that unusual for the festival, which annually draws thousands to the city.
The 32nd Hudson Hot Air Affair is set for February 5-7 with a theme of “Bringing Fun to 2021.” This year’s hot air balloon rally and community festival, presented by WESTconsin Credit Union, will be a hybrid model of in-person and virtual activities.There are about 20 balloons participating in the morning launches on Saturday and Sunday, Feb.6 and 7 at 8 am.
Because of COVID-19 health concerns, there will NOT be a public launch field at EP Rock school. Instead,we are asking the public to bundle up, mask up, look up to see the colorful balloons flying over Hudson as they launch from various private locations around Hudson. General information on where to look for balloons in the sky will be available at HudsonHotAirAffair.com and on Facebook.
All flights are weather dependent as the balloons are not able to fly in windy or inclement conditions.The traditional evening balloon glow will have a new twist this year as a drive-thru event. Hours are 5:30 to 6:30 on Saturday evening, Feb. 6. The public can view inflated hot air balloons, glowing candlestick burners and other lighted displays from their vehicles. The drive-thru is designed to give the many viewers an opportunity to see the glow balloons and/or burners. This means everyone will need to remain in their vehicles. There will only be one entrance, vehicles will travel one way around the display area and then exit. The exact location will be announced before the event, so please check the website and Facebook for details.
The live events will follow CDC and other COVID-19 safety protocols, including the fat bike race, food trucks and food drive, cornhole tournament and museum tours/historic walks. Hot Air Affair is partnering with River Channel Hudson/North Hudson Community Access Television for streaming video and live coverage. While there won’t be a live parade or smoosh board competition, there will be a special video presentation of these events as well as several other video programs. The River Channel will also provide live streaming of the balloon launches and the balloon glow. Tune in to HudsonHotAirAffair.com, view on Facebook, instagram, or watch on YouTube River Channel.