The Hudson Valley Balloon Festival

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

The 31st annual festival wowed and colored the skies over Dutchess County over Labor Day weekend


For one weekend each September, the skies over Dutchess County fill with hot air balloons for the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival. The festival has grown from a local tradition to something much bigger, attracting hundreds of balloonists and thousands of visitors from around the world to take part in a full weekend of activities, including hot air balloon rides, helicopter rides, live music and entertainment, food trucks and families. Activities.

This year, the 31st Annual Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival was held over Labor Day weekend at Tymor Park in the town of Union Vale and featured 100 hot air balloon launches. Photographer Jessica Chappe was there to take it all in.

Children stand in front of the high-speed fan during the Balloon Walk Experience at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022. Airborne Adventures filled their balloon with cold air from a high-speed fan (used for initial inflation) to allow party-goers to explore the interior of the multicolored balloon.  This experience is known as the Balloon Walk.

Children stand in front of the high-speed fan during the Balloon Walk Experience at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022. Airborne Adventures filled their balloon with cold air from a high-speed fan (used for initial inflation) to allow party-goers to explore the interior of the multicolored balloon. This experience is known as the Balloon Walk.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Aerial photo taken from the Re/Max hot air balloon of the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on September 3, 2022.

Aerial photo taken from the Re/Max hot air balloon of the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on September 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

“Hot air ballooning is a very romantic sport because just like a new romance, you never know where you’re going,” Lady Stockbridge pilot Kimberly Field said. “Morning flights can be fun, especially landing in busy neighborhoods. The little children come out in pajamas and the parents with cups of coffee. They are really excited.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

A Re/Max crew member helps keep the crown line taut during inflation at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival.

A Re/Max crew member helps keep the crown line taut during inflation at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Pilot Carroll Teitsworth is a former Navy pilot who has flown balloons since 1978. Teitsworth pulls the trigger on the burner which shoots a flame, helping the hot air balloon to rise.

Pilot Carroll Teitsworth is a former Navy pilot who has flown balloons since 1978. Teitsworth pulls the trigger on the burner which shoots a flame, helping the hot air balloon to rise.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Partygoers line up for the tethered balloon at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

Partygoers line up for the tethered balloon at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

At 6:30 a.m., a young reveler helps hold the mouth of the balloon.  Cold air is released to help inflate the balloon.

At 6:30 a.m., a young reveler helps hold the mouth of the balloon. Cold air is released to help inflate the balloon.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Pilot Glo Kehoe has been flying for 40 years and comes from Albuquerque, New Mexico to be part of this festival.  “There were very few women when I started.  I remember going to a hot air balloon event.  I was near the ball and this woman came up to me and said

Pilot Glo Kehoe has been flying for 40 years and comes from Albuquerque, New Mexico to be part of this festival. “There were very few women when I started. I remember going to a hot air balloon event. I was near the balloon and this woman came up to me and said “who’s the pilot” and I said “I am” and she said “no, I want to know who’s piloting it when he’s in the air.” She couldn’t believe that a woman was piloting the balloon. So things have changed radically. »

“I have built a reputation as a pilot of special shaped balloons. I flew the Energizer Bunny for 16 years. He is 67 feet tall, his feet are about 60 feet long, and his ears are 60 feet tall. It’s a huge ball. It flies a little differently than round balls because it’s so big. The ears can be in a higher wind current than the basket, so every once in a while if you go too fast the ears will bend back to look like a bunny with an attitude.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

“You can’t steer a balloon, we’re at the mercy of mother nature,” said Sunrise Balloon Crew Chief Mike Kibling. “Wind shear varies at different levels. You might be well 300 feet above the ground, but when you go up to a thousand, it takes you in a whole different direction. Mother nature changes from hour to hour. This is why you see early morning launches when the winds are calm. When the sun comes up, it starts to heat up the earth, it creates thermals and it starts to get windy here on deck, at ground level and all the way up. We aim for early morning and late afternoon/evening. There is a small window. If the winds are slow they may have a smaller area to land as they will arrive very slowly. If the winds are 4 miles per hour 5 miles per hour, you need a bigger runway to be able to land your balloon. What you see is not always what you will get 45 minutes later. You have to know when to hold them, know when to bend them.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

A crew member takes the lead during the Crew Olympics lapping the fall line.  During the descent, once the wind has slowed, the pilot throws the leech line to a member of the crew to help him retract the basket.

A crew member takes the lead during the Crew Olympics lapping the fall line. During the descent, once the wind has slowed, the pilot throws the leech line to a member of the crew to help him retract the basket.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Country artist Jordan Stoner performs at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival at Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Country artist Jordan Stoner performs at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival at Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Ax throwing at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Ax throwing at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Many local food trucks in and around the Poughkeepsie area serve food at the festival.  Thailicious Catering is one of them.

Many local food trucks in and around the Poughkeepsie area serve food at the festival. Thailicious Catering is one of them.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

A family plays giant chess at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

A family plays giant chess at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

A mother and daughter dance at the YMCA while IHeart Radio DJ's for revelers at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival in Tymor Park, Saturday September 3, 2022.

A mother and daughter dance at the YMCA while IHeart Radio DJ’s for revelers at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival in Tymor Park, Saturday September 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Children blow bubbles at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Children blow bubbles at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

A father throws his son into the air during the Balloon Walk experience at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

A father throws his son into the air during the Balloon Walk experience at the Hudson Valley Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

“I started in 1992,” said Rich Hamelton, pilot for Adventure with Altitude. “It was my wife’s birthday. I gave him a ride as a surprise gift for his birthday. We did and she loved it. It was rather fun. We started going to hot air balloon festivals, one or two a year and it was great. We watched for the first two years and then we started talking to pilots and started helping them because all balloon pilots need help…once you learn (how to pilot) it’s easy . It has become a family affair for us. I got my commercial pilot’s license in 2011 and my grandchildren are learning all the tricks of the trade here. It started as a passion and now it’s a business for us.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Lady Stockbridge pilot Kimberly Field communicates with the other pilots for the Candlestick show to synchronize their flame release to stay in sync with the other pilots.

Lady Stockbridge pilot Kimberly Field communicates with the other pilots for the Candlestick show to synchronize their flame release to stay in sync with the other pilots.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

The Candlestick show is in full swing.  Flame launch to stay in sync with fellow pilots at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

The Candlestick show is in full swing. Flame launch to stay in sync with fellow pilots at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival in Tymor Park on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union