Photos: The Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival – Times Union | Dauktion

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

The 31st annual edition of this festival brought wonder and color to the skies over Dutchess County over Labor Day weekend


On a weekend in September, the sky over Dutchess County fills with hot air balloons for the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival. The festival has grown from a local tradition into 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 balloon rides, helicopter flights, live music and entertainment, food trucks and family activities.

This year’s 31st annual Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival was held at Tymor Park in the town of Union Vale over Labor Day weekend and featured 100 hot air balloon launches. Photographer Jessica Chappe was there to capture everything.

Children stand in front of a high-speed fan during the Balloon Walk experience at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival.  Airborne Adventures filled their balloon with cold air from a high-speed fan (used to initially inflate it) so revelers could explore the inside of the colorful balloon.  This experience is known as the Balloon Walk.

Children stand in front of a high-speed fan during the Balloon Walk experience at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival. Airborne Adventures filled their balloon with cold air from a high-speed fan (used to initially inflate it) so revelers could explore the inside of the colorful balloon. This experience is known as the Balloon Walk.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Aerial view of the Re/Max hot air balloon at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival at Tymor Park on September 3, 2022.

Aerial view of the Re/Max hot air balloon at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival at Tymor Park on September 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

“Ballooning is a very romantic sport because, like any new romance, you never know where you’re going,” said Lady Stockbridge pilot Kimberly Field. “Morning flights can be fun, especially landing in busy neighborhoods. Small children come out in pajamas and parents with coffee mugs. They get 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 Hot Air Balloon Festival.

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

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Carroll Teitsworth is a former Navy pilot who has flown balloons since 1978.  Here he pulls the trigger to the burner, which shoots a flame and helps the hot air balloon rise.

Carroll Teitsworth is a former Navy pilot who has flown balloons since 1978. Here he pulls the trigger to the burner, which shoots a flame and helps the hot air balloon rise.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Revelers line up for the tethered balloon at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Revelers line up for the tethered balloon at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

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

At 6:30 a.m., a young reveler helps hold the opening of the hot air 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 attend this festival.  “When I started there were very few women.  I remember going to a balloon event.  I was next to the balloon 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 attend this festival. “When I started there were very few women. I remember going to a balloon event. I was next to the balloon and this woman came up to me and said, “Who’s the pilot?” And I said, “I’m him,” and she said, “No, I want to know who’s flying it when it’s in.” in the air.” She couldn’t believe a woman was the pilot of the balloon. So things have changed dramatically.”

“I made a name for myself by flying specially shaped balloons. I flew the Energizer Bunny for 16 years. It is 67 feet tall, its feet are about 60 feet long, and its ears are 60 feet high. It’s a huge balloon. It flies a little differently than round balloons because it’s so big.”

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

“You can’t pilot a balloon — we’re at Mother Nature’s mercy,” said Mike Kibling, crew chief of the Sunrise hot air balloon. “The wind shears vary at different levels. You might be fine at 300 feet off the ground, but going up to 1000 takes you in a whole different direction.”

“What you see is not always what you see 45 minutes later. You have to know when to hold them, when to fold them.”

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

A crew member takes the lead during the Crew Olympics reeling in the dropline.  During the descent, once the wind has died down, the pilot throws the dropline to a crew member to help pull in the basket.

A crew member takes the lead during the Crew Olympics reeling in the dropline. During the descent, once the wind has died down, the pilot throws the dropline to a crew member to help pull in 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 Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Ax throwing at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

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

Many local area food trucks 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 Hot Air Balloon Festival.

A family plays giant chess at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

A mother and daughter dance to the YMCA while IHeart Radio DJs spin for revelers at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival.

A mother and daughter dance to the YMCA while IHeart Radio DJs spin for revelers at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

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

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

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

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 got her a ride as a surprise present for her birthday… We started going to balloon festivals, once or twice a year, and it was great. We watched for the first few years, then we started talking to the pilots and started helping them because all balloon pilots need help.”

“It’s become a family thing for us. I got my commercial pilot license in 2011 and my grandkids are learning all the basics and stuff here. It started as a passion and is now 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 her flame release with the music.

Lady Stockbridge pilot Kimberly Field communicates with the other pilots for the Candlestick show to synchronize her flame release with the music.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

The candlestick show in full effect at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival.

The candlestick show in full effect at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Jessica Chappe / Special for the Times Union

Leave a Comment