Published Friday, January 18, 2008
This year’s Hot Air Affair theme is “Mardi Gras…Balloons & All That Jazz,” according to HAA President Evy Nerbonne. “Our event sponsors have really embraced the theme this year. We have more than 30 restaurants, bars, pubs and retailers doing special menu items, beverage specials and retail events highlighting the New Orleans carnival theme. It’s the weekend for jambalaya, hurricanes, King Cake and lots of beads.”
BalloonsThe familiar red, white and blue ReMax hot air balloon has the longest history of Hudson appearances by a commercial balloon. It’s being sponsored by ReMax North Central and ReMax Associates Plus Inc., the owner of the ReMax realty company in Hudson.
Stephen Sinnen, Shakopee, Minn., will pilot the 105,000-cubic-foot aerostat in Hudson. He’s a 24-year pilot, logging more than 1,500 hours in balloons. Sinnen has flown balloons all over the United States and Mexico.
“Some of my more interesting flights have been dropping skydivers at the World Free Fall Convention in Quincy, Ill.,” Sinnen said. He has also carried passengers for Rainbow Ryders, the official passenger carriers for the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M.
This year’s other commercial balloons are U.S. Bank and M&I Bank. Special-shape balloons include Mr. Biddle, Rubber Duckie and Garfield. The Hot Air Affair, presented by M&I Bank, is one of the largest winter hot air ballooning events in the country.
“Everyone loves the balloons,” said balloon coordinator Carla Timmerman in describing the aerostats. “Commercial and special-shape balloons are what sets us apart from many other rallies.
The Hot Air Affair annually attracts corporate balloons from throughout the country because of the winter flying opportunity.
Pre-event activities start this week and Hot Air Affair isn’t just a spectator event! Here are some options for individual or family participation, some requesting advance registration.
Complete Hot Air Affair event brochures are available at local businesses and the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau office. Information is also available at www.hudsonhotairaffair.com. The Hot Air Affair, presented by M&I Bank, is 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 (715) 381-2050 or (888) 247-2332 or email email@example.com.