Hudson Valley’s Hot Air Balloon Festival

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce has announced a partnership with the Dutchess County Fairgrounds to present the 27th annual Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival this summer. The dates of this year’s event are July 6-8. 

One of the region’s signature community events, the Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival has expanded significantly over the years, with more than 25,000 people attending in 2017. By moving to the iconic Dutchess County Fairgrounds, the event will be able to continue to grow, offering free on-site parking for the entire weekend as well as a stable infrastructure that hosts hundreds of thousands of people each year. 

“This is an exciting move for the Chamber, and we jumped at the opportunity to bring this event to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds,” said Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Frank Castella, Jr. “The Fairgrounds has it all – from a safe, secure location, to parking and other facilities needed to make this event a true community festival. Of course we also will have balloonists from all over the country joining us again this year.” 

The Chamber is planning a total of 100 balloon launches during the weekend, with mass launches scheduled in the evenings Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the popular sunrise launches on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, there will be tethered balloon rides available throughout the festival. All rides are weather and wind permitting, but activities will be available at all times, including live bands, vendors, food trucks, family activities, and more. 

“We are excited that the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce is bringing the Balloon Festival to the Fairgrounds,” said Andy Imperati, President and CEO of the Dutchess County Agricultural Society. “This is a great family event and I think the Rhinebeck community and surrounding areas will truly enjoy it.” 

Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro said, “The Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival is undoubtedly an asset within our community, drawing thousands of visitors to this beautiful region every year. Families from all over anticipate its return every summer, knowing it will be a weekend of fun, activities, and spectacular hot-air balloons. I congratulate and thank the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce for presenting this inclusive, signature event in Dutchess County for 27 years.” 

“I am excited that this year’s Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival will be at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, one of our showcase destinations in the county,” said Mary Kay Vrba, President and CEO of Dutchess Tourism, Inc. “Visitors will have an opportunity to see the balloons, take rides and stop at our historic sites, farms, craft beverage spots, and then stay for many of our concerts and music events. Kudos to Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce for hosting such a classic event. It’s Distinctly Dutchess.” 

Rich Hamilton is a Poughkeepsie resident and pilots “Rainbow with a View.” He holds a commercial pilot’s license and operates Adventure with Altitude Ballooning, LLC. He has been participating in the Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival for more than 20 years. “The Rhinebeck area offers good flying in all directions. We will have lots of room to launch and do tethered balloon rides. For spectators the extra room that the Fairgrounds has will result in easy parking and good interaction with the balloons and pilots. 

“This festival thinks of the community and putting on a good show for the public and sponsors, resulting in putting more balloons in the air for the public to watch,” said Hamilton. “Recent improvements include having pilots on the launch field to talk with the public in between morning and afternoon balloon flights. This is a great change as the public has the opportunity to ask questions and become educated about ballooning.” 

The mission of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce is to represent its member businesses and organizations and to be an economic catalyst for the Hudson Valley region. By expanding an event like the Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival, it provides significant exposure and traffic for Chamber members as well as the ability to promote goods and services to the community. Full event information will be available at, including vendor registration forms and the opportunity to purchase hot-air balloon rides. Tickets for the festival will be available online shortly