Hot Air Affair celebrates ‘Year of the Dragon’It’s a celebration of the Chinese New Year at the Hudson Hot Air Affair, the premier winter hot air balloon rally in the Midwest. The 23rd annual rally and winter festival, presented by WESTconsin Credit Union, will be Feb. 3-5.
It’s a celebration of the Chinese New Year at the Hudson Hot Air Affair, the premier winter hot air balloon rally in the Midwest. The 23rd annual rally and winter festival, presented by WESTconsin Credit Union, will be Feb. 3-5.
This year’s Hot Air Affair will start with countdown events in January including an Asian food sampling, martial arts open house and dragon making craft day. The theme will be found throughout the annual event, including the torchlight parade with fire breathing dragons, programs and displays about China and other Asian countries, school programs with a Chinese theme and a Chinese New Year celebration to kick off the annual Moon Glow Saturday night.
Dozens of hot air balloons will launch Saturday and Sunday mornings. Specially designed balloons will represent ReMax, Stillwater Balloons and U.S. Bank. Because February flying is a rarity, hot air balloonists come from throughout the Midwest to participate in the winter rally. The Saturday evening Moon Glow allows visitors to walk among more than 30 aerostats tethered on the ground illuminating the E.P. Rock elementary school field to look like a field of Chinese Lanterns.
The winter festival kicks off Friday night, Feb. 3, with a torchlight parade, featuring blasts of flames, marching kazoo bands and “The Year of the Dragon” theme units. A fireworks display over the St. Croix River will start after the parade. Other evening activities include live music, karaoke and dances.
Saturday events include a pancake breakfast, marketplace and craft fair, the Up, Up and Away 5K fun run, kite flying, button instant winner promotion at local stores, geocaching, smoosh board competition, crafts for kids and entertainment at E.P. Rock School, Octagon House Museum open house, benefit bingo plus live music and dances. The Saturday night Moon Glow is a favorite with balloons tethered on the launch field (weather permitting) or blasting a Field of Fire with their propane burners.
The annual chili cook-off, geocaching and button instant prizes will be on Sunday, Feb. 5.
Additional countdown events in January include Hot Air Affair fundraisers, a geocaching workshop and candlelight cross country ski and hike.
Hot Air Affair souvenirs, apparel and balloon collectibles will be available at the Marketplace at E.P. Rock School on Saturday, Feb. 4. The Hot Air Affair is sponsored by Hudson Hot Air Affair Inc., a non-profit volunteer organization. WESTconsin Credit Union is the presenting sponsor and the event partners with the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau.
All spectator events are free. For details, contact the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau at 715-386-8411, 800-656-6775 or go to www.hudsonhotairaffair.com or www.hudsonwi.org. Hudson Hot Air Affair is also on Facebook.