Hudson Hot Air Affair: Winter Ballooning in Wisconsin
Last Updated: 2/19/2016
Hudson's Hot Air Affair is the Midwest's premier winter ballooning event and winter festival. Thousands of visitors head to the St. Croix Valley in west central Wisconsin on the first full weekend in February for a spectacular winter showcase of brilliant color and family fun.
Of course, the stars of the Hudson rally are the balloons - all in vibrant colors and many in unusual shapes. Forty balloons are typically expected including the likes of 100-foot-tall teddy bears and an eight-story ducks. Mass ascensions are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday mornings at 7:30am. There's also an alternate launch time of 3pm Saturday afternoon for pilots so inclined, or in the event the Saturday morning mass ascension is canceled. Saturday evening balloons remain tethered but are filled and lit by their burners in a spectacular "moon glow." It is quite a sight; bring your cameras.
In addition, a flurry of other events and activities round out the Hot Air Affair and help everyone kick the winter blues. Friday brings a popular geo-caching activity and a fireworks display. Saturday opens the balloon launch and a pancake breakfast followed by more geo-caching and a craft fair. Sunday opens with the final mass ascension of the weekend followed by the festival's annual chili cook-off.