Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival



See Photos from the Festival HERE!


Presenting sponsors:




    Here's a list of activities happening during the Festival!

    Midway Farm Area

    Barton Bakery

    Granny Smith's Kitchen

    The Tap Room

    Petting Zoo

    Gem Stone Mining

    Shooting Gallery

    Wooden Ships Playground

    Fun Park

    Mazes (boulder dash, ropes & squares, and more!)

    Games (Milk the cow, bail toss, and more!)

    Cow Train

    Rock Labyrinth

    Pedal Kart Race Track

    Two Giant Slides

    Bouncing Ponies

    Talking Exhibits

    Kiddie Karts

    Inflatable Play Area

    Trackless Red Train

    Pedal Carts

    Rotten Core Manor Haunted House

    If you dare to wander through Rotten Core Manor then you are sure to have a good scream! The Rotten Core Manor haunted house is a walking activity. Throughout the walk, you will encounter darkness, animation effects, and much more!

    *This is a live actor haunt.
    *Be advised, children must be accompanied by an adult.
    *Touching actors is not permitted.

    Bands/Live Music

    Bands will play on the Main Stage (MS) and Entrance Stage (ES) all weekend!

    Friday, July 8

    MS Nashville Drive 1-5 pm
    MS FDR Drive 6-10 pm
    ES Americana Oak Band 1-5 pm
    ES Rob Daniels Acoustic 6-10 pm

    Saturday, July 9

    MS Michael Dell Band 1-5 pm
    MS Thunder Ridge 6-10 pm
    ES Lucky House 1-5 pm
    ES Backbeat 6-10 pm

    Sunday, July 10

    MS Bills Toupee 1-5 pm
    ES Cruise Control 1-5 pm

    Helicopter Rides

    Helicopter Rides will be available all weekend thanks to our friends at Independent Helicopters, LLC



















Starting Gate Sponsor



Balloon Fest Hotline Sponsor

Event Guide Sponsor


VIP Reception Sponsors


Special Thanks





The Balloon Tycoon

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:

Balloon Meisters

Michele (Shelly) & Roger Hooper, Roger & Michele Hooper own and operate Hudson Valley Ballon Adventures in East Fishkill. Roger's first ballooning experience was taking a balloon ride at the Adirondack Balloon Festival in 1983 and he then received his commercial pilot rating in 1994. Shelly got the ballooning bug very young, taking her first balloon ride when she was 10 years old, is now Crew Chief. Roger and Michele enjoy flying the majestic Hudson Valley in their balloon "Limelite" with their daughter, Erin. When they are not ballooning or fishing, Roger is a Regional Sales Manager for Puratos Corporation, a Belgian manufacturer of fine chocolates and bakery ingredients in New Jersey and Michele is the Director of Operations at Barton Orchards in Poughquag and LaGrange.


Andrew Avon has been around the world of hot-air balloons since he was 2 days old! As a child, he and his brother were avid attendees of the Adirondack Balloon Festival, involved with distributing balloon festival merchandise. He always enjoyed chasing hot-air balloons during the festival and would make makeshift balloons in his parents’ yard. He took his first flight as a passenger at age 8 and now he’s living his dream! Andrew owns and operates UPstate Ballooning based out of the Lake George region of NY. Andrew’s reputation for safety has given him opportunities to fly special, shaped hot-air balloons for other pilots. He has been praised for his professionalism, thoroughness and cautious piloting style. He has flown all over the United States, Canada and Mexico. Out of all the places he has flown, he still finds upstate New York the prettiest. The views can’t be beat!

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 has had this marvelous sport of ballooning in his close knit family for over 35 years! Almost every weekend is a family get-together. So for him, ballooning is not just about going up and down, but rather a fancy way of creating a recurring family reunion. For this he will be forever grateful!

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.

Kim Field first tried her hand as a Balloon Chase Crew member and becoming the pilot of her own balloon quickly became her next goal. Passing the final check-ride and holding her Commercial Pilot's License was worth the hard work involved. Sharing the joys of Ballooning continues to be a great reward for Kim. She wishes to send a special thank you to her Ballooning family, "You are the Chosen Few."

Rich Hamilton is a Poughkeepsie resident and pilots “Rainbow with a View.” Along with his wife, Lori, and daughters, Sarah and Brittany, Rich 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 who needed help. He holds a commercial pilot’s license and operates Adventure with Altitude Ballooning, LLC, in the Poughkeepsie area.

Mike Hernandez began his ballooning career in 2006 after his wife, Ellen, asked for a hot-air balloon ride for her birthday. Mike received his Private Pilot's license in 2007 and his Commercial Certification in 2010. Mike has flown in Canada, Mexico, in 25 U.S. states, including The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Mike and Ellen have owned seven balloons and they have dedicated much of their time helping charities and helping educate people about the sport. Mike has been an organizer of the annual New York State Balloon Association Safety Seminar since its inception in 2008. Mike, Ellen and the team will be flying "Velma" (of Scooby-Doo fame).

Bill Hughes is the owner of Blue Sky Balloons. He is a former U.S. Navy pilot with over 9,000 hours of flight experience in everything from jets to helicopters. In 1973, Bill helped Malcolm Forbes make a transcontinental flight across the U.S., and he became a Pilot Examiner and Safety Counsellor designated by the FAA. Bill also has served as “Balloonmeister” for many major balloon events with a perfect safety record throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan, winning numerous events. He is the past Vice President and board member of the Balloon Federation of America. In winter, when the weather isn’t suitable for balloon flying, Bill spends time traveling the U.S. helping students study for their FAA Pilot Written Examinations. In Liberty Balloon School, Bill has trained over 2,700 pilots in 34 states over the last 29 years. 

Joyce Lang has been flying balloons for more than 30 years, attending balloon events in 13 states, Canada, France and in the Alps in Austria. She was a volunteer pilot for the Great Eastern Balloon Camp in 2015 and is a past President of the Great Eastern Balloon Association. Now her eyes are set on planning the celebration of the 225th Anniversary of the First Air Voyage in America, serving as Vice President of FAVIA 225. On January 9, 1793, Jean-Pierre Blanchard launched his balloon in the First Air Voyage in America from the Walnut Street Prison in Philadelphia in the presence of George Washington and 4 future presidents. Blanchard carried a letter from the President to be delivered to the property owner wherever he landed, making this the first delivery of air mail in the US as well. We hope you’ll join us in Philadelphia, March 22-25, 2018 to mark this historic event! Like George Washington, Joyce and her crew, Ryan and Dawn Hulvat from Bethlehem, Pa, greatly appreciate the generous hospitality of landowners and respect the importance of farms and the dedication of those who work them.

Ken Leota flies the world's largest Tuxedo at hot-air balloon festivals throughout the northeast, Canada, and central New Jersey. He is a member of the Balloon Federation of America, the Great Eastern Balloon Association, and has been the recipient of GEBA's Ted Torok Award for Sportsmanship in Ballooning, as well as being Number One in competition in 2006. Not 'SirPrizingly,' Ken's crew includes his wife, Janet, their kids, Adam and Katie, and their Crew-Chief-Chef, Vince Downey. Many other family and friends (including John, Rosey, Courtney, Patty, David, Linda, Scott, Cynthia, Karen, Mark, many others) are also part of the "Sir Prize!" Team (and of course, Ann, Carl, & Vickie are always with us, too!) helping to share the uplifting experience of ballooning with all.

Matt Lidinsky, pilot of “Windswept,” has been involved in ballooning since the age of six. Matt took his first ride In the Early Times Whiskey Bottle Ballooning and was immediate hooked on ballooning. He has been flying balloons for 13 years and has experience flying across the United States. Matt has also flown in China and Canada. Matt has operated Up Up Away Hot Air Balloon Company since 2002 with an excellent safety record. Matt concentrates on providing his passengers with a safe and enjoyable flight and always putting his clients in the spotlight when performing corporate advertising. Matt is a proud member of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Great Eastern Balloon Association.

Nick Mazzocchi has been a balloon pilot since 1975. He got into the sport when he and two friends saw an ad for balloon rides in the local paper and decided to check it out. Their first balloon crewing experience led the three young men to the decision to get their licenses and buy a balloon. After a few years of enjoying the sport, they each went their separate ways, sold their balloon and got out of the sport. Fast-forward to 1996. A friend of Nick’s wife, Sherrie, was interested in learning to fly balloons. He convinced Nick to get back into ballooning. (It didn’t take much to convince him!) Shortly after, Nick purchased his second balloon, Mid- Life Crisis, and began to share his love of ballooning with his family, eventually helping both daughters earn their private and later commercial balloon licenses. In addition to flying balloons, Nick is currently pursuing his fixed wing license.

John Piper has been flying balloons since 1993. When asked why he got into ballooning he always responds, “I’ve been trying to get off this planet all my life.” John's wife, Kate, is his regular crew chief. Kate will not be at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival as she will be in Rio Brazil setting up for the 2016 Olympics through her day job with NBC Sports. When not ballooning, John works with the Macy’s Parade Studio designing and producing floats, props, costumes and giant inflatables for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. John and Kate live in Pearl River, New York with an overenthusiastic Golden Retriever named January. This is John’s second year flying in Duchess County (and he’s very happy to be back).

Mike Ranieri is a commercial hot-air balloon pilot and also holds a FAA Repairman’s Certificate working under Hudson Valley Balloon Port, owned and operated by his good friend Russ Barber. Mike has been flying since 1999 and operates Catskill Mountain Balloon, Inc. with flights out of Columbia County airport in Hudson, NY as well as Oneonta, Cooperstown and many festivals throughout the year. He has flown throughout New York, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Canada and Japan. Mike takes every opportunity Mother Nature allows to fly with the rising and setting of the sun.

Mark Sand has been flying balloons since 2003. He flies "Mystical Flyer." Mark has flown in Connecticut, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and New Mexico. Mark retired in 2004 as an oceanographer with the Naval Oceanographic Office, headquartered at Stennis Space Center, MS. For the last seven years of his career he represented his agency as Staff Oceanographer for Commander, Submarine Development Squadron 12 at the U.S. Submarine Base in Groton, CT. His job took him around the world on over 25 ships and submarines. He now lives in Mystic, CT, with his wife, Jamie Whitman.

Kenny Shumate is a veteran pilot who owns and operates The Balloonatic Promotions in Orlando, FL. He has been flying hot-air balloons for over 35 years and is a certified flight instructor. Kenny has flown hot-air balloons in China, New Zealand, Japan, and Canada as well as the United States. The Baloonatic Promotions puts emphasis on providing safe, fun and exciting adventures to remember for years to come. Kenny is a retired firefighter from Walt Disney Fire Department after 30 years of service.

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 grew up around the sport of ballooning and has had his pilot certificate since 2000. "Hover Girl" is Brian's third balloon and the pattern is an homage to his father's original balloon from the 1970s. Stop by and ask his dad, Tom to tell the whole story! When not flying around Dutchess County, Brian is a realtor based in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Carroll Teitsworth has been a full-time professional balloonist since 1978 and has logged over 3,400 hours of hot-air ballooning. Prior to taking up ballooning as a profession, Mr. Teitsworth was a U.S. Navy multi-engine airplane pilot. He later became a fixed base operator and airplane flight instructor. He is also an FAA designated balloon pilot examiner and an FAA safety counselor.

Peter and Jennifer Turoff have been flying 'Roamin’ Candle' since 1995. They live in LaGrange. A former skydiver, Peter loves the exhilaration of being airborne and shares his passion for flying with his family. On the ground, Peter enjoys drumming and is the Operations Coordinator for Baright Enterprises, owner of Foam and Wash Car Wash, Mobil Mart Express and Oil Change Plus at many locations in Dutchess and Orange counties. The Roamin’ Candle Balloon Team is comprised of family and friends of all ages and has truly made ballooning a team sport. Their favorite part is introducing the sport to newcomers and sharing in the excitement of lighter-than-air flight.

Is there a cost to attend the Balloon Festival? 
At Barton Orchards, General Admission tickets on Friday and Saturday are $12 and on Sunday are $5 at the gate only. Saturday and Sunday morning is FREE. Children under age 3 are free. Parking is always free.

Admission to Migliorelli Farm is free Friday and Saturday afternoons.The  All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges, no exceptions.

Will there be parking available?
Yes. Parking is available, but is limited at Barton Orchards on a first-come, first-served basis and is free. There will also be free off-site parking with shuttle service a short ride away (1 mile away) on Friday and Saturday. Parking is limited and it is therefore recommended you arrive early. Please follow posted signs and/or volunteer instructions to find parking. Handicapped parking is available at Barton Orchards.

Public and handicapped parking at Migliorelli Farm will be free, but limited.

Can I bring a cooler/picnic with me?
No, outside food and beverages will not be allowed at Barton Orchards. There will be plenty of food trucks, food and retail vendors, concessions, a Tap Room, bakery, market, and more available!

Outside food and beverages are not allowed at Migliorelli Farm, but concessions will be available for purchase.

What about chairs and blankets to sit?
Feel free to bring folding chairs and blankets to both locations, just please be courteous to the balloonists and other visitors.

What should I wear?
Barton Orchards and Migliorelli Farm are farms, and both on- and off-site parking is 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.

How do I become a Vendor?
For complete information on being a vendor, click the ‘Vendor’ tab above.

Can I bring my pet(s) with me?
No. Pets are NOT allowed at Barton Orchards or Migliorelli Farm. Sorry for the inconvenience! If animals are left in vehicles, the police will be notified. Service animals ONLY are allowed.

Can I ride in a balloon?
Yes! A limited number of 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!

Visit the ‘Take a Balloon Ride’ tab above for complete information. Tether Rides will also be available for a CASH ONLY fee of $20 per person the day of the festival. 

How much does a balloon ride cost?
Morning rides are $200 per person and afternoon rides are $225 per person. A $50 non-refundable deposit will be charged at the time of registration (for afternoon launches, $10 ($5 on Sunday) is added to cover the cost of admission; you must show ID and your receipt at the gate). Directions to download a Liability Waiver will be emailed a few days before the festival. All passengers should print and sign the waiver, then bring it along with their receipt and valid ID to check-in at The Balloon Ride Tent. The balance due should be paid (CASH ONLY) at check-in. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges, no exceptions.

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 do I go to check-in for my ride?
Print your receipt and the liability waiver (sent in a separate email a few days before the festival) and bring both with you on the day of your ride. For afternoon riders, show your receipt and ID at the gate for admission. ALL passengers MUST check-in at the Balloon Ride Tent with ID to pay the balance due (CASH ONLY) and turn in the signed 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.

My launch didn’t happen, what do I do?
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 $50 deposit will be refunded.

What is a Tether Ride?
A Tether Ride is where a balloon is secured to the ground via rope, often tied to vehicles. The balloon then lifts off the ground to the limit of the rope and then slowly descends. Tether Rides are available at both Barton Orchards and Migliorelli Farm for $20 per person (CASH ONLY) on site.

What is a Moon Glow?
The Moon Glow will be a stationary display on Saturday night at Barton Orchards. After dark, weather 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.

When are the Fireworks?
Fireworks will be on Friday night only and will happen after dark at Barton Orchards.

What time do the balloons launch?
The first takeoff during the morning mass launches is slated for 6 a.m. at Barton Orchards. All evening launches at Barton Orchards and Migliorelli Farm are scheduled for 6 p.m. Multiple balloons will launch from Barton Orchards. One balloon will launch at Migliorelli Farm. Moon glows at Barton Orchards will begin after dark. All launches are weather dependent.

Why are the launches scheduled for 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.?
To avoid thermal activity during the day, Hot-Air Balloons launch at sunrise and approximately two hours before sunset as a safety precaution.

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

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.

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 Chamber's Facebook and Twitter postings throughout the festival.

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 the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce's Facebook and Twitter accounts. 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 Twitter, Facebook or Balloon Festival Pinterest pages or share it on Instagram. The best ones might even win a prize!

Are there hotels nearby?
Yes! We recommend The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel or Hampton Inn by Hilton, but visit the Chamber’s Business Directory for a complete list of local hotels and motels. We suggest booking your room early!

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 there.

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?
For any and all questions you may contact the Chamber by emailing 

Is there a phone number I can call with questions?
The AT & T Balloon Festival Hotline powered by Central Hudson Gas & Electric is (845) 454-1701. The Hudson Valley Balloon Festival’s Facebook page as well as the Chamber’s Facebook and Twitter accounts will also be updated regularly. Feel free to ask your questions there so others can benefit from the answer, too.

The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce host its annual Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival on July 8-10, 2016. 

Watch coverage from the 2015 festival!


We've expanded our festival to have activities happening all weekend. NEW this year, thanks to our friends at Barton Orchards, we will have LOTS of family activities such as a petting zoo, crafts, hayrides, food trucks, a tap room, bakery and market, fire pits, ball toss, vendors, live music from great bands, and FIREWORKS (Friday night)! We will, of course, have old favorites like the Moon Glow, tether rides, and rides in the hot air balloons for sale.



Think Local First!

Remember, when you shop, when you dine, and even when you shop online: Think Local First!

Then remember to think about ways to go even further.
  • Give local first
  • Think green always
  • Think global next

2016 Corporate Leaders



Calendar of Events