Hot Air Balloon Fest comes to Hudson this weekendArea News
-- It’s all about the balloons! And a new balloon is coming to Hudson for the first time for the 23rd annual Hudson Hot Air Affair Feb. 3-5. The winter festival is presented by WESTconsin Credit Union—Hudson and features about 30 commercial, regular and special shaped hot air balloons this year.
HUDSON - It’s all about the balloons! And a new balloon is coming to Hudson for the first time for the 23rd annual Hudson Hot Air Affair Feb. 3-5. The winter festival is presented by WESTconsin Credit Union—Hudson and features about 30 commercial, regular and special shaped hot air balloons this year.
The newest special shape balloon to participate at this year's Hudson Hot Air Affair is the Airganic Garden, sponsored by Family Fresh Market of Hudson, New Richmond, and coming soon to River Falls.
The special shape balloon features state of the art inkjet printing for the attention getting design that includes two 10- to 22-foot tall monarch butterflies, two 14-foot tall mouth-watering tomatoes, a 25-foot apple basket, strawberries, peaches, cinnamon sticks, a classic barn, five cows grazing and two horses on vivid blue and green background.
The balloon was constructed by Cameron Balloons of Ann Arbor, Mich., with over 2,000 square yards of rip stop nylon and 9.3 miles of thread. The pilot will be Bennett Schwontkowski of Cary, Ill., a past participant of the event. Family Fresh Markets are hosting a contest to win a flight in the balloon during the 2012 Hudson Hot Air Affair.
Even though the Hot Air Affair doesn’t officially start until Feb. 3, there are January countdown events for individual and family participation.
Family Fresh Market in Hudson will host a Chinese New Year “Year of the Dragon” event on Saturday, Jan. 21. Hours are 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and activities include Asian food sampling and tea sampling. A martial arts demonstration by Ultimate Martial Arts & Fitness will take place at noon. Stillwater Balloons will have a hot air balloon basket on display so stop by to meet the pilot.
The annual candlelight cross country hiking and skiing will again be hosted by YMCA Camp St. Croix. The popular family event is also Jan. 21 and hours are 5-9 p.m. at the camp on the south side of Hudson. There will be candlelit trails for hiking and skiing (should there be enough snow), plus trail-side fires for quick warm ups. A hot air balloon from Aamodt’s Balloons will be at the camp. Complimentary refreshments will be provided for the 23rd consecutive year by Art Doyle’s Spokes and Pedals and admission is free. The skiing and hiking event is sponsored by Sylvan Learning Center and PCK Foundation.
A new Tip Night fundraiser is set for Monday, Jan. 23, at Pizza Hut WingStreet in Hudson. Participants can celebrate the actual day of the Chinese New Year at the long-time HHAA sponsor restaurant from 5 to 8 p.m. Earned tips will support The Year of the Dragon festivities Hot Air Affair weekend.
Children can express their creative skills by entering the Children’s Coloring Affair, coordinated by the Hudson Star-Observer, St. Croix Valley YMCA, Associated Bank—Hudson, Minuteman Press and St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance. The event runs through Jan. 27 with the pictures on display at the YMCA, Hudson Star-Observer and Associated Bank locations during Hot Air Affair.
PressEnter! is again coordinating a photo contest. Hot Air Affair photos can be submitted from all countdown events in addition to the big weekend. Visit www.pressenter.com for complete photo contest details.
New 2012 brochures are now available at local businesses and the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. The brochure has details of all events plus 10 coupons from local businesses. Complete schedules are currently posted at www.hudsonhotairaffair.com and event organizers welcome followers of the Hot Air Affair on Facebook. These online tools will be used Hot Air Affair weekend to update the status of balloon flights.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the Hot Air Affair should leave a message at (715) 381-2050. Volunteers are needed for hot air balloon chase crews and other event activities.