• Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival FAQ's

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    Check back here regularly for updated information on the 28th Annual Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival.

  • FREE and ample parking is available. FREE and ample parking is available.

    FREE parking and lighted parking lots with be available for thousands of cars! Please follow posted signs and/or volunteer instructions to find parking. Handicapped parking is available: Follow the signs to the south east lot closest to Main Gate #1. Please have your state issued disabled parking permit visible. A parking attendant is on duty to provide assistance.

  • Are there any prohibited items? Are there any prohibited items?

    The Dutchess Fairgrounds strives to produce a fun and safe family event. In so doing, the Dutchess Fairgrounds must enforce prohibited items and behaviors. A bag search will be conducted during entrance to Fairgrounds. Listed below are some of the common prohibited items and behavior, but does not limit itself to the following:

    • Pets are not allowed (All service dogs must have PROOF of rabies vaccination to enter the grounds)
    • Bicycles, scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, heelies, segways, and golf carts, are not allowed
    • No outside food or beverages
    • Cans, bottles or coolers are not allowed
    • No outside alcohol
    • No Drones
    • No firearms, knives and weapons of any kind
    • Shirts and shoes are required at all times
  •  No outside food and beverages allowed No outside food and beverages allowed

    Outside food and beverages will not be allowed at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. There will be plenty of food trucks, food and retail vendors, concessions, and more available for purchase! Bags are subject to search.

  • How to become a vendor How to become a vendor

    Vendor information and applications will be up on this site soon. Please check back here regularly. 

  • When will I see balloons fly? When will I see balloons fly?

    While the Hot Air Balloon Festival is a 3-day event, various fun packed events will happen all weekend for all ages including many non balloon related activities. Hot-Air Balloon Rides are at scheduled times* only. Tether rides happened throughout the weekend as well but are also at scheduled* times. Please be sure to check the festival schedule for when these events will happen.  For more information on balloon flight times and safety please wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_air_ballooning

    Please be sure to review our schedule of activities so that you can best plan your visit and not miss out on all our amazing activities.

    * Balloon launches/tether rides are at the sole discretion of their pilots and are contingent upon many weather permitting conditions, which is why their times are also approximate. 

  • No pets are allowed at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds No pets are allowed at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds

    No pets are allowed at the fairgrounds at any time.

    Service dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for persons with disabilities will be admitted. All service dogs must have PROOF of rabies vaccination to enter the grounds. Do Not Leave Your Dog in the Car. Any dog left in a vehicle will be turned over to the local authorities/ dog warden at the expense of the owner. 

  • Chairs and blankets allowed Chairs and blankets allowed

    Feel free to bring folding chairs and blankets, just please be courteous to the balloonists and other visitors.

  • What to wear to the festival What to wear to the festival

    The Dutchess County Fairgrounds is mostly on grass, so it might be muddy and/or dusty. We suggest all visitors should dress appropriately including wearing sturdy, closed-toe footwear and clothes you won’t mind getting dirty. The use of bug and tick repellent and sunscreen is STRONGLY recommended.

  • Where are the balloons before the launch? Where are the balloons before the launch?

    The Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival includes much more than just the balloon launches. We asked our Balloonist pilots to stay and answer questions from the crowd. Tethered Hot-Air Balloon Rides will be offered at scheduled times throughout the festival (wind and weather permitting).

  • Can I ride in a balloon? Can I ride in a balloon?

    Yes! A limited number of (weather and wind dependent) balloon rides are available for a fee. All passengers must be tall enough to see over the side of the basket (approximately 48-inches). Basket size varies from balloon-to-balloon; therefore riders may not be able to ride together. Passengers should dress in comfortable clothing and closed-toe footwear. The temperature might vary only a couple of degrees from the ground temperature. 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!

    More information will be posted on this site when available. 

    Tether Rides will also be available for a CASH ONLY fee per person the day of the festival. 

  • How long are the rides? How long are the rides?

    A typical balloon adventure is approximately three hours from set-up through pack-up with the actual flight lasting approximately 45 minutes. You will also enjoy a champagne toast with your pilot and crew and then be returned to the launch site in your balloon’s chase vehicle. Signing up for a balloon flight does not guarantee you will fly, as flights are completely dependent on weather. ALL BALLOONS TAKE OFF AT THE DISCRETION OF THE PILOT.

  • Where and when to check-in for your ride Where and when to check-in for your ride

    ALL passengers MUST check-in at the Balloon Ride Tent with ID, pay the balance due (CASH ONLY) and sign the liability waiver. Please plan to arrive roughly an hour prior to the scheduled launch time to ensure you see the balloon inflate and rise. Traffic may cause significant delays, please plan accordingly. Refunds will NOT be issued for missed rides due to late arrival.

  • What to do if your launch doesn't happen What to do if your launch doesn't happen

    If your launch is cancelled for any reason, if there is room at a later launch, you will be asked to try and reschedule at check-in the day of the canceled launch. If, at the end of the weekend, NONE of the launches were successful, the deposit will be refunded.

  • What is a tether ride? What is a tether ride?

    A tether tide is where a balloon is secured to the ground via rope, often tied to vehicles that lasts about 5-7 minutes. The balloon then lifts off the ground to the limit of the rope and then slowly descends. Tether Rides are available at a cost per person (CASH ONLY) on site.

  • What is a hot-air balloon illumination moon glow? What is a hot-air balloon illumination moon glow?

    The moon glow will be a stationary display on Friday and Saturday nights. After dark, weather and wind permitting, a few balloons will fire their burners.  When the burners are fired, it makes the balloon glow. We recommend bringing a flashlight for the walk to and from your car. Check out our About Us page for pictures of a Moon Glow. 

  • What time do the balloons launch? What time do the balloons launch?

    The first takeoff during the morning launches is slated for approximately 6 AM. All evening launches are scheduled for approximately 6 PM. Hot-Air Balloon Illumination Moon Glow will begin after dark.  Safety is our top priority. All launches are wind and weather dependent. For more information on balloon flight times and safety please wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_air_ballooning

  •  Why are the launches scheduled for 6 AM and 6 PM? Why are the launches scheduled for 6 AM and 6 PM?

    To avoid thermal activity during the day, Hot-Air Balloons launch at sunrise and approximately two hours before sunset as a safety precaution. All times are approximate as current weather conditions must be taken into consideration for your safety. For more information on industry standards and safe hot air balloon practices, check out the flight times section here: wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_air_ballooning

  • Where do the balloons go? Where do the balloons go?

    Wind determines a balloon’s direction. Balloons simply float with the wind. The pilot can control the balloon’s altitude to find a wind going in the desired direction, but you cannot fly upwind or crosswind.​

  • Where will the balloon land? Where will the balloon land?

    Balloons simply float with the wind. Preflight planning ensures the pilot knows which way the balloon will be traveling, and the pilot makes sure there are plenty of suitable landing sites downwind.

  •  If we fly, how do we get back to the launch site/our car? If we fly, how do we get back to the launch site/our car?

    A chase crew follows along in a van or truck. The chase crew is in radio contact with the pilot, so they can be there when the balloon lands (or soon afterward). You will be returned to the launch site in your balloon’s chase vehicle.

  • Will the balloons float back to the launch site? Will the balloons float back to the launch site?

    Not typically. Balloons float with the wind, so cannot easily change direction to travel in a circle.

  • Why wouldn’t a launch happen? Why wouldn’t a launch happen?

    ALL BALLOONS TAKE OFF AT THE SOLE DISCRETION OF THE PILOT. Sometimes, due to impending weather, wind, or other conditions, balloons will launch early, late or not at all. We will have many events during our festival, and while our festival lasts 3 days - Balloon launches are at scheduled times only.  We will have tether rides throughout the festival as well at scheduled times. 

    Please plan to arrive an hour prior to the scheduled launch time to ensure you see the balloons inflate and rise. Allow extra time for traffic. Up-to-the-minute information about launch times, including delays will be available via the Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival Social media postings throughout the festival.

    For more information on industry standards and safe hot-air balloon practices, check out: wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_air_ballooning

  •  In case of inclement weather, how will I know if balloons are launching? 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 as well as on our Social media pages. 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. For more information on standards and safety for hot-air balloons including launch times, please visit: wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_air_ballooning

  • I got a great photo of the balloons; do you want to see it? I got a great photo of the balloons; do you want to see it?

    You bet we do! Please post it to our any of our social pages and share it with #HVBalloon

  • Are there hotels nearby? Are there hotels nearby?

    Yes! We recommend The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel & Conference Center, but visit the Chamber’s Business Directory for a complete list of local hotels and motels. We suggest booking your room months in advance!

  • Are there restaurants nearby? Are there restaurants nearby?

    Yes! Visit the Chamber’s Business Directory for a complete list of local restaurants, cafés, and diners. The Hudson Valley is also home to The Culinary Institute of America and you will find some of the finest cuisine in the world served here. 

  • Are there other things to do nearby? Are there other things to do nearby?

    Yes! Visit our partner, Dutchess Tourism, Inc. or check out the Chamber’s Community Calendar for a list of local attractions and happenings.

  • I have a specific question, who should I contact? I have a specific question, who should I contact?

    For any and all questions, you may contact the Chamber by emailing Chelsea@dcrcoc.org or by calling 845.474.1700 x 1000. Our social media accounts will be updated regularly. Feel free to post your questions there, so others can benefit from the answer too. During the festival we encourage you to share posts with #HVBalloon

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