Hot Air Affair set this weekendThe Hudson Hot Air Affair takes to the sky this weekend for the 23rd annual hot air balloon rally and winter festival Feb. 3-5. This year’s theme is “2012—The Year of the Dragon.”
The Hudson Hot Air Affair takes to the sky this weekend for the 23rd annual hot air balloon rally and winter festival Feb. 3-5. The event is presented by WESTconsin Credit Union—Hudson and features nearly 40 commercial, regular and special shaped hot air balloons coming to town for the weekend.
This year’s theme is “2012—The Year of the Dragon.” Chinese New Year activities will be sprinkled throughout the weekend’s schedule with the celebration preceding the Moon Glow Saturday night being the highlight. Rivaling the Saturday night show will be the Friday night Torchlight Parade which will be led by a troupe of martial arts students and a giant dragon with children carrying dragon puppets. The hot air balloon pilots will add more fire to the dragon theme by blasting their burners down the parade route.
Local businesses are featuring theme events, such as a Chinese tea ceremony, and some restaurants will offer special menu items with an Asian flair.
Hot air balloon launches are set for 7:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4 and 5. An optional flight is at 3 p.m. Saturday and the crowd-pleasing Moon Glow or Field of Fire is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Hot Air Affair officially starts during the day Friday with balloon pilots giving programs in Hudson schools. The event is partnering with the Hudson Middle School this year for a reading program and winners will get hot air balloon tether rides, weather permitting on Friday.
The instant prizes button promotion starts Friday in participating Hudson stores and nearly 150 prizes will be given to those who match their button numbers to numbers posted at local stores. Participants include Abigail Page Antiques, Art Doyle’s Spokes and Pedals, Chapter2Books, CocoBello, Elan Clothing, Dilly Dally Gifts, Et Cetera, Grapevine Interiors “AT HOME”, Knoke’s Chocolates, Lavender Thymes, Lillians, SEASONS on St. Croix Gallery, The Purple Tree, Marnie Marie Photography, Bert’s Coffee Café, Pangea International Jewelry and Gifts, The Nova, Hudson Flower Shop, Applebee’s Restaurant, Urban Olive & Vine, Massage Envy—Hudson, Dough Boys Pizza, Joyful Expressions and Digital Garage/Mac Xprts.
Free Hot Air Affair buttons are available this week at participating businesses or the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce office at 502 Second St.
Other Friday activities include the Torchlight Parade, geocaching, fireworks and live music, karaoke and dances.
E.P. Rock Elementary School will be bursting with activities and events on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Hot Air Affair Marketplace. The craft fair is maxed out with vendors, according to coordinator Lana Sjoberg. More than 30 booths will be brimming with arts and crafts, food items, clothing, gifts and hot air memorabilia. Entertainment and special events will also take place at the school, including geocaching, crafts for kids, dance performances, musical entertainment and Tai Chi and martial arts demonstrations in honor of the Chinese New Year theme. Marketplace hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.
Other Saturday morning activities include the annual Pancake Breakfast at the Masonic Temple in downtown Hudson, Up, Up & Away 5K Run and Octagon House Museum open house.
The Saturday afternoon focus returns to the Rock School grounds launch field for the Minnesota Kite Society show, Smoosh Board competition and Ice Carving.
The Chinese New Year Celebration show starts at 6 p.m. Saturday on the launch field. The Hung Vuong Association from the Twin Cities will celebrate Asian culture with lion dancing and martial arts, along with musical accompaniment on the drums and gongs. Colorful lion dance costumes will be the hit of the show. For more details on the troupe, go to www.hungvuongmn.com.
Other Saturday night activities include the Moon Glow or Field of Fire at Rock School grounds, Benefit Bingo, live music, karaoke and dancing.
Sunday’s schedule includes geocaching, continuation of the instant prize promotion and the 17th annual Chili Cook-Off.
Hot air balloon crews are needed to set up, chase and take down balloons. Numerous balloonists travel to Hudson alone from long distances and need local volunteers to help crew for the weekend. Previous balloon crewing experience is preferred but not necessary. Local drivers who know area roads area also needed to assist out of town balloonists. If you‘d like to crew, call the Hot Air Affair office at (715) 381-2050 or e-mail hudsonhotair firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hot Air Affair brochures and event details are available at local businesses and the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau office. Brochures contain 10 money saving coupons and the event location map. Check the website at www.hudsonhotairaffair.com
for a complete schedule. Follow the event on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and balloon launch information ahead of each lift off. Advertising with a complete schedule and list of participants are included in this week’s Hot Sheet Shopper and Hudson Star-Observer.
The Hot Air Affair is coordinated by a non-profit community volunteer organization. Anyone wanting to volunteer to sell merchandise, crew for hot air balloons or help in any way should call the Hot Air Affair office at (715) 381-2050 or e-mail hudsonhotair email@example.com.