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Hot Air Affair theme: 'Peace, Love & Balloons'

Dressing the part for the Hot Air Affair theme of "Peace, Love & Balloons" were committee members and representatives of the corporate sponsor WESTconsin Credit Union. The group included, from left, WESTconsin representatives Linda LaKosky and Lori Rayome and Hot Air Affair committee members Ruth Peterson, Lee Anderson, Renell Pagel, Molly Johnson, Carla Timmerman and Evy Nerbonne. Submitted photo

Peace, Love & Balloons" is the 2010 theme for the Hudson Hot Air Affair winter festival and hot air balloon rally scheduled Feb. 5-7. The local volunteer non-profit group announced the theme at the recent Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau Business Spotlight.

"Our pilots will bring the theme to the annual Torchlight Parade" said pilot coordinators Lee Anderson and Molly Johnson. "Parade goers will be treated to lots of tie dye and 60s music."

The theme will continue with costumes at the Smoosh Boarding competition on Feb. 6 at Rock Elementary School and music of the era at a benefit concert Saturday night. The band Concentual Unplugged will headline the concert at the Best Western Hudson House Inn with proceeds to benefit TurningPoint, a center for victims of domestic and sexual violence. Runners in the first-ever Hot Air Affair Up, Up and Away 5K Fun Run on Saturday morning will get tie dye t-shirts as souvenirs of the theme.

Pre-events with a "Peace, Love & Balloons" theme will include the annual children's coloring contest with a kick-off at Dick's Bar & Grill on Friday, Jan. 22, children's breakfast kick-off on Jan. 23, candlelight ski and hike at YMCA Camp St. Croix on Jan. 23 and The Phipps Family Day on Jan. 24. Family Fresh Market hosts the final pre-event at their store Saturday, Jan. 30 with "Back to the 60s" theme activities and music.

The Hudson Hot Air Affair is the premier winter hot air balloon rally and winter festival in the Midwest and hosts regular and special shaped balloons from throughout the country.

WESTconsin Credit Union is the new corporate sponsor of Hot Air Affair with more than 100 businesses and local organizations involved in the festival. This is the 21st annual staging of the festival with 100s of volunteers helping with hot air balloon activities at Rock Elementary School launch field and throughout the community.