Balloon Festival Weekend 2015



The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted the 25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival on July 10, 11 and 12, 2015, drawing unprecedented crowds of 20,000 to 25,000 people. The festival has grown and expanded greatly, reflecting the enormous collaboration and sense of pride in the local community shared by leaders, businesses, schools, organizations and residents.

track your balloon About 100 balloon launched throughout the weekend utilizing a record 25 balloons. On Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m., mass launches were held on the banks of the Hudson River from the area just south of Shadows on the Hudson. In addition, there were smaller 6 p.m. launches from Migliorelli Farm at 48 Freeborn Lane, Tivoli. On Saturday and Sunday mornings at 6 a.m., mass launches took off from the Dutchess County Airport in Wappingers Falls. 

Saturday evening be moon glows, where balloons are fired up so they glow but remain grounded, at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday evening by the Hudson riverside. 

Thanks to our friends at the Dutchess County Department of Public Transit, a shuttle bus looped continuously from 5–9:45 p.m. Friday, July 10, and Saturday, July 11 between the 41 Main Street Poughkeepsie Train Station Garage, the 23 Market Street Garage (near the bus depot) and Shadows on The Hudson at 176 Rinaldi Boulevard. 

Children's activities provided by a variety of local nonprofits and sponsored by Dutchess ProPrint were at the Hudson riverside during the evening launches.  

Refreshments were be available at all the launch sites, and the Red Hook launch site will also featured live music.

A Balloon Weather Condition Briefing Station/Tent was available throughout the festival, where "Balloon Tycoon" Joe Daily of Q92.1 offered live updates on launch times, weather conditions, interviews with the balloonists and more 

The balloonists also participated  in a competition called Hare and Hound in which the hare balloon took off first. The other balloons, the "hounds," launched at a predetermined time after the hare. The hare landed at a suitable site and laid out a large fabric X about 50 feet in diameter. The hound balloons attempted to drop their markers as close to the center of the X as possible, and  closest marker achieved the highest score.



6 p.m. July 10

On Friday evening, join us on the Poughkeepsie waterfront in the area just south of Shadows on the Hudson at 176 Rinaldi Boulevard, where we plan a mass launch at 6 p.m.

There will be refreshments available for purchase and several nonprofits offering children's activities at tables sponsored by Dutchess ProPrint

Parking will be available at the Pine Street lot across the train track from Shadows on the Hudson for $5. For more information about parking and shuttles to the balloon festival, visit 

We also plan 6 p.m. balloon launches at  Migliorelli Farm, 46 Freeborn Lane, Tivoli, where there will be tethered rides, live music and barbecue available.  

For continuously updated launch information, visit the Chamber's Facebook page or Twitter social media using the hashtag #DCRCOCballoon

No dogs except service dogs are allowed at the festival.

You can also tune in to Q92.1 for updated weather and launch briefings from "Balloon Tycoon" Joe Daily.

Or call the Chamber's Balloon hotline, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., all weekend at 845-505-HOTT (845-505-4688).


6 p.m. July 11

On the evening of Saturday, July 11, join us on the Poughkeepsie waterfront just south of Shadows on the Hudson at 176 Rinaldi Boulevard for a mass launch of balloons at 6 p.m.

There will be refreshments available for purchase and children's activities provided by a variety of local nonprofits and sponsored by Dutchess ProPrint. There will be moon glows, where balloons are fired up but remain glowing on the ground, at around 8:30 p.m.

Parking will be available at the Pine Street lot across the train tracks from Shadows on the Hudson for $5. For information about parking and shuttles to the balloon festival, visit

There will also be 6 p.m. launches from Migliorelli Farm46 Freeborn Lane, Tivoli, where there will also be tethered rides, live music and barbecue available. 

For continuously updated launch information, visit the Chamber's Facebook page and other social media using the hashtag #DCRCOCballoon

You can also tune in to Q92.1 for updated weather briefings from "Balloon Tycoon" Joe Daily.

Or call the Chamber's Balloon hotline, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., all weekend at 845-505-HOTT (845-505-4688).

No dogs except service dogs are allowed at the festival.


6 a.m. July 11-12  

Dutchess County Airport, 263 New Hackensack Road, Wappingers Falls, NY

See a record 25 balloons inflate and take off in a spectacular mass launch. There will be breakfast-style food available for purchase.

No dogs except service dogs are allowed at the festival.


Nancy Beck, pilot of “Heads Up,” is a resident of Wanaque, N.J. Beck's first flight was a gift from her husband at a rally in Bloomsburg, New Jersey, in 1985. She got her commercial license in 1986. The Beck kids grew up around balloons, and now her grandchildren are becoming good spotters. The family has flown in several surrounding states, as well as in Canada, Barbados, Yugoslavia and Austria.

Joel Berka and David Berka, a father-and-son hot-air balloon team from Binghamton, N.Y., are pilots of the “Mystical Breeze” balloon who attend many balloon festivals in the United States and Canada. Dave Berka has been flying since 1979 and has trained many pilots, including his son. 

Charles Blair of Newark, DE, is the pilot of "Fire It UP." Balloons have been part of his family for three generations, and he is pleased his son Charles Jr. is now a student pilot.

Kymberly Butler, a resident of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., is the pilot of “My Witch's Broom.” She became interested in ballooning while crewing for a pilot giving rides to residents at Lutheran Care Center. 

Penelope Christy of Middletown, CT, is the pilot of “Sky Petals” (Cameron Z-90). Christy has a commercial pilot certificate from the FAA and has been flying for 25 years. She retired from a 43-year engineering career with project management at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in 2007 and has extensive fundraising experience. Christy donates flights to various nonprofits and recalls her most memorable flight with Mario Distefano in Sicily flying around the Castle at Mussomeli. She has held leadership roles in the Connecticut Lighter than Air Society and the Academy of Mastery. She is a distributor for Cameron Balloons U.S. of Ann Arbor, Michigan, a member of the Balloon Federation of America and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Dwight E. Cramer is a resident of Munnsville, N.Y., and the pilot of “Paradise Island” balloon. Cramer's fascination with flying began in childhood; he went on his first balloon ride in 1992 and earned his commercial certificate in 1999. Cramer is well known for providing balloon rides over his hometown area and enjoys participating in balloon festivals throughout the northeast.

Kimberly Field is pilot of the balloon “Iris of Red Creek.” Field was inspired to become a balloon pilot after crewing for a local pilot. She says being adventurous is in her nature, so it only seemed natural to take on the challenge. 

Santo Galatioto, is a commercial pilot of the “Gentle Breezes & Soft Landings" balloon from Orange, CT. He has been flying balloons for more than 25 years and also serves as the pilot examiner for the FAA.

Vince Galet, pilot for the Sky Riders Balloon Team from Collegeville, PA, flies “Sky Rider.” The Sky Riders Balloon Team was founded by Vince – its commercial pilot – in 2005. The team includes several dedicated crew members, a pilot-in-training and a number of fans. They fly passengers from spring to fall and are proud to be a 2012 Viva America pick as outstanding attraction. They can often be spotted in Pennsylvania (Montgomery County) and occasionally at balloon festivals in the northeast. 

Jenn Goldbloom fell in love with ballooning during her first flight in Gallup, N.M., in 1982 and is now the pilot of “Wonderful Whirled” balloon. Goldbloom, a resident of Norristown, Pennsylvania, earned her commercial LTA rating in 1992 and has been involved in many aspects of the sport over the years, flying in much of the U.S., as well as Canada and France.

Rich Hamilton is a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., resident. Along with his wife, Lori, and daughters, Sarah and Brittany, Rich Hamilton has been involved in ballooning ever since he purchased a balloon ride for his wife's birthday many years ago. Since then, the family has attended festivals around the country and crewed for anyone that needed help. He holds a commercial pilot’s license and operates Adventure with Altitude Ballooning, LLC, in the Poughkeepsie area. 

Roger Hooper, of East Fishkill, N.Y., is the pilot of “Limelite.” Hooper's first ballooning experience was taking a balloon ride at the Adirondack Balloon Festival in 1983. He received his commercial pilot rating in 1994 and has flown his own balloons in festivals throughout the northeastern United States and Canada for the past 25 years. Hooper and his wife Shelly (crew chief) own and operate Hudson Valley Balloon Adventures of East Fishkill, New York. They enjoy flying with their daughter Erin in the Catskill Mountain Region of New York. When Roger Hooper is not flying balloons, he is a Regional Sales Manager for Puratos Corporation, a Belgian manufacturer of fine chocolates and bakery ingredients in New Jersey.

Glenn D. Horton is the pilot of “Sparkles” from Woodbourne, N.Y. Glenn started as a student pilot in 1997, but always had an interest in aviation. In 2005, he started Woodstock Winds Balloon Co. and now flies in the Jeffersonville area of Sullivan County, New York. He has flown in festivals from New Hampshire to South Carolina.

Taras and Minka Hrechniw, a husband-and-wife team for more than 20 years from Ellenville,  N.Y., are the pilots of  “BluRadius.” Both graduates of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, they work in the art world. They live in a house they designed themselves in Catskill Mountains with their cat and enjoy flying off their front lawn.

Bill Hughes, a former Navy pilot and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., resident, will be flying the “Seagull” balloon. Bill has been flying balloons for 45 years. He is the organizer of the Mid-Hudson Hot-Air Balloon Festival and will retire as organizer this year after 25 consecutive events. He operates a local balloon ride business in the Poughkeepsie area and has flown in many U.S. states, as well as Canada, Belgium and Japan.

Bob Martel, a resident of Sterling, MA, is pilot of the “Celtic Magic” balloon and has been involved in ballooning since 1984. He first became interested in the sport in 1968 when a balloon landed in his neighborhood. Martel is a commercial balloon pilot but flies for fun. 

Joe Moroney, of Poughquag, N.Y., is pilot of the “Discovery” balloon and a truck driver/safety manager with Clancy Moving Systems in Patterson, N.Y. He began helping out as a crew member after taking a ride in 2002. After a few years, he began training to become a pilot. Now he is a private pilot working on his commercial rating. 

Glenn O'Bryan, 47, pilot of "Teal Magnolia," is a resident of Boiling Springs, N.C. A Navy veteran (USS Midway – USS Enterprise), he is now a self-employed plumber by trade. 

John Piper of Pearl River, N.Y., is the pilot of "CUMULUS ROMPUS II" and has been flying balloons since 1993. He and his wife Kate enjoy flying in New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Ohio. When not flying hot-air balloons, Piper works on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Mark Sand, is the pilot of “Mystical Flyer” and a resident of Mystic, CT. He has been flying balloons since 2003 in Connecticut, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Minnesota. He retired in 2004 as an oceanographer with the Naval Oceanographic Office.

Rick Silva, the pilot of the “High at Last” balloon from Mystic, CT, got interested in ballooning after attending the ADK festival in 1983. He started flying balloons in 2008 after receiving his pilot certificate in Albuquerque, N.M. Silva received his balloon after his cousin bought a Firefly F8-B and sent it up from Florida in 2007.

Brian T. Smith, a resident of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and the pilot of “Hover Girl,” is a second-generation balloon pilot who grew up around ballooning. When he’s not flying over your house, he’s trying to sell it. As a local real estate broker based in Poughkeepsie, Smith was again one of the top agents in the Hudson Valley last year, selling more than 200 houses in seven counties.

Keith Sproul, a resident of North Brunswick, N.J., is pilot of the “SkyBluePink” (or birthday cake) balloon. He works as a computer manager at Rutgers University and has been involved with ballooning since 1998. He has been crew chief on the “Energizer Bunny” balloon for several years. He has made five balloons, including three special-shape Tetrahedron balloons. He also owns three other special shape balloons, including an 80-foot tall birthday cake balloon, a rabbit balloon and a pink pig. He likes to fly in canyons, gaps and gorges among other places. In 2008, Sproul was the first person to land a balloon on the bottom of the Meteor Crater in Arizona. Sproul and his wife attend many balloon festivals throughout the year. In addition to flying large special-shape balloons, he enjoys flying small one-man chariot-type balloons.

Carroll Teitsworth, is the pilot of the “REMAX” balloon from Groveland, N.Y. Teitsworth started his aviation career as a naval aviator, flying P-3s during the Vietnam period. Leaving the Navy, he operated a small airport, giving airplane flight instruction with ballooning as a sideline. Since 1978, he has been a full-time balloonist. He has taught balloon pilot ground schools and given balloon assembly programs at public schools in nearly every state in the United States. Last year, he passed 4,000 hours of balloon flight time. His primary ballooning activity is conducting the balloon promotional programs for REMAX of N.Y. and REMAX of N.J. He says the most rewarding part of his balloon experience is the fact that his children (Lance, Lisa, Liana and Lee) are all involved in ballooning. Now, with Lance's son Jacob starting to take flying lessons, they are a three-generation balloon family.

Peter Turoff, a LaGrange, N.Y., resident, is the pilot for the “Roamin' Candle." Peter and his wife Jennifer have been flying in the Hudson Valley since 1996. Last summer, their daughter Maggie became a student pilot. But their son Ryan will have to wait until he is 14. 

Robert Ward, a Quakertown, Pa., resident, is the pilot of "Going Batty III." He has had his pilot's license for airplanes since he was 19 and has always loved flying things. He started working with balloons in 1986 and obtained his commercial ballooning license in 1990. He enjoys tethering at events to give people a taste of what balloon flights are like.

Is there a cost to attend the Balloon Festival?
No. All launches are complimentary to attend and open to the public.

Can I ride in a balloon?
Yes. A limited number of balloon rides are available for a fee. To take a ride in a hot-air balloon during the Balloon Festival, contact Balloonmeister Bill Hughes of Blue Sky Balloons by clicking here.  Rides last about an hour, cost $225 and are extremely limited. In the past, balloon rides have been used for engagements, weddings, client rewards, birthday/graduation gifts and more. Don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Will there be parking available at all launch sites?
Yes.  Parking is available at all locations on a first-come, first-served basis.  At some sites, parking is limited, and it is therefore recommended you arrive early.  Please follow posted signs and/or volunteer instructions at each site in order to find parking.  There is a $5 charge for parking at the Poughkeepsie waterfront and Dutchess County Airport.

What time do the balloons launch?
All evening launches are scheduled for 6 p.m.  The first takeoff during the morning mass launches is slated for 6 a.m. Any moon glows will begin after dark.  ALL BALLOONS TAKE OFF AT THE SOLE DISCRETION OF THE PILOT.  Sometimes, due to impending weather or other conditions, balloons will launch early/late or not at all.  Please plan to arrive roughly 30 minutes prior to the scheduled launch time at all sites to ensure you see the balloon inflate and rise.  Up-to-the-minute information about launch times, including delays, will be available via the Chamber's Facebook and Twitter postings throughout the festival. Or tune into Q92.1 for live updates from the launch locations.

In case of inclement weather, how will I know if balloons are launching?
As soon as any decision is made on the cancellation of balloon launches, information will be immediately posted to the Balloon Festival website at as well as the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce's Facebook and Twitter accounts.  You can also get live updates by tuning into Q92.1. ALL DECISIONS TO CANCEL OR PROCEED WITH BALLOON LAUNCHES ARE SOLELY THOSE OF THE PILOTS.  Remember, numerous factors contribute to unsafe conditions for ballooning, including rain, wind, lightning, etc.  

I got a great photo of the balloons, do you want to see it?
You bet we do! Please post it to our Facebook or Balloon Festival Pinterest pages or share it on Instagram. The best ones might even win a prize!

I have a specific question, who should I contact?
For any and all questions you may call the Chamber at 845-454-1700 ext. 1000. Starting a few days before the event, you can also call the Central Hudson Gas & Electric Balloon Festival Hotline at 845-505-HOTT (845-505-4688). The Chamber's Facebook and Twitter accounts will be updated regularly throughout the Balloon Festival weekend. Feel free to ask your question there so others can benefit from the answer, too.



























To take a ride in a hot-air balloon during the Balloon Festival, contact Balloonmeister Bill Hughes of Blue Sky Balloons by clicking here. Rides last about an hour, cost $225 and are extremely limited. 

Balloon rides have been used for engagements, weddings, client rewards, birthday/graduation gifts and a whole lot more.  Don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

About Blue Sky Balloons: Blue Sky Balloons has been providing hot-air balloon rides in the Hudson Valley for more than 40 years. It has a perfect safety record, operating FAA-certified balloons by FAA-certified pilots. The balloons fly from the heart of the Hudson Valley near New York City, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Gift certificates, private rides, and group accommodations are available.

About Bill Hughes: Bill Hughes, a former Navy pilot with more than 9,000 hours of flying everything from jets to helicopters, got into ballooning in 1970. He helped Malcolm Forbes make a transcontinental flight across the U.S. in 1973. The FAA designated him a pilot examiner and safety counselor. He has served as "Balloonmeister" for several major balloon events and continues to do so with a perfect safety record. He has flown competitively throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. He is the past vice president and a board member of the Balloon Federation of America.


Joe Daily from Q92, known by many as the "Morning Mayor of the Hudson Valley," has been entertaining audiences, both on-air and in person, for more than 35 years. For his many loyal listeners of all ages, his warmth and quick wit have become a integral part of their morning routine. And Joe enjoys his audience just as much as he considers himself privileged to be part of people's lives. Besides providing music, information and an abundance of chuckles every morning, he hopes to encourage and support the individuals, families, community organizations and businesses that call the Hudson Valley home.

Daily grew up in New Jersey. From about the age of 8, he knew he wanted to be a radio broadcaster. Influenced by the great radio entertainers of the 1940s through the '70s, he followed his dream and pursued his education at Ramapo College of New Jersey, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications. After graduation, he worked at radio stations WSUS in Franklin, N.J., and WKER in Pompton Lakes, N.J.,  before moving to the Hudson Valley in 1979, where he has worked ever since.

Daily and his wife, Charlotte, live in the"Christmas card" Village of Walden, where they raised their two daughters, Aubrey and Mary. A firm believer in the power of radio to entertain, inspire, encourage and motivate, he spends far more time than the hours he is heard on the air participating in a variety of community events, lending his on- and off-air support to many local organizations working to improve the lives of Hudson Valley residents.

Read more:


* See pictures on the Chamber's Facebook page

Anniversary sponsor: Q92.1

Event sponsors: Associa New York; Bonura Hospitality Group; Daily Planet Diner; DCH Wappingers Falls Toyota; Dutchess County Fair; Hampton Inn; HealthQuest; Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union; KeyBank; Kirchhoff Green EnergyM & T Bank; MalloryforMayor; MidHudson Regional Hospital of Westchester Medical Center; Migliorelli Farm; Orange County Trust Company; Poughkeepsie Galleria; Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center; Poughkeepsie Plaza; Quality Environmental Solutions & Technologies, Inc.; REMAX; TD Bank; TEG Federal Credit Union

Balloon Festival hotline sponsored by: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.

Children's activities sponsor: Dutchess ProPrint

Emergency response sponsor: Mobile Life Support Services  

Selfie station sponsor: Dutchess Cars

Starting gate sponsor: K-1 Speed

Thank you to AT&T; Bonura Hospitality/Shadows on the HudsonDutchess County Department of Public WorksDutchess County Airport Acting Director John Mouris; the Dutchess County Sheriff's OfficeDutchess Tourismand everyone else who helped make this event a success.

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