Kick-Off the 2019 Hudson Hot Air Affair • St. Croix River Cruise • June 18th

Arrr ye ready for some pirate fun?  Then join the Hudson Hot Air Affair Committee for a St. Croix River Cruise to kick-off the Hot Air Affair with a 2019 theme of “Pirates Fly’n the Croix-ribbean.”  The cruise is on Monday, June 18th with boarding at 5:30 p.m. at Hudson’s Lakefront Park and the cruise is from 6 - 9 p.m.  This cruise is open to the public.

Come celebrate the start of the 30th annual Hot Air Affair, Hudson’s winter festival and hot air balloon rally, as we sail the unfrozen St. Croix River with a pirate theme.  The cruise includes a buffet dinner featuring a Caribbean feast with jerk chicken and ribs.  A cash bar is available.  Meet Captain Ruby, BlackJack and other Swashbucklers and join them in some buccaneer fun and games.  Dress the part if you’d like.  There are prizes for the best costumes.

Book your cruise through St. Croix River Cruises at, click on the cruise calendar.  Prefer bookings by June 15, 2018 please.  The cost is $33 per person for adults, $15 for child age 3-10 and $10 for tots 2 and younger.

View a flyer: Pirate Cruise Flyer

2019 Hudson Hot Air Affair :: Pirates Fly'n the Croix~ribbean

 Pirates & WCUJoin us in Hudson, Wisconsin along the beautiful St. Croix River for Hudson Hot Air Affair, the premier winter ballooning event and winter festival in the Midwest.  This family friendly event includes activities such as an evening Torchlight parade, hot air balloon launches, geocaching, marketplace and craft fair, smoosh boarding, 5K fun run, bingo, balloon moon glow or field of fire, just to name a few.

Join us for all the great fun to be had in  Hudson, Wisconsin.  Plans are underway for the 2019 events and will be posted when they become available. Please view the 2018 schedule for a list of past events and activities.

Hot Air Affair is run entirely by volunteers and funded by our generous sponsors. Join the fun! See our Sponsors page for more information about becoming a sponsor or visit our About Us page to lean more about volunteering.

Real-Time Flight Information

Thank you for visiting. Please check back here next year during Hot Air Affair (on February 2 & 3, 2019) for the latest announcement on weather and flight information.

Saturday Morning Launch:  THERE WAS A PARTIAL LAUNCH!  Some of the pilots where able to launch (at their own discretion).

Saturday 3:00 p.m. Launch: the afternoon launch was canceled due to wind speed.

Sunday Morning  Launch: There was a partial launch. About half of the pilots where able to fly.

Partly Cloudy
08/19 20%
Partly Cloudy
A mix of clouds and sun during the morning will give way to cloudy skies this afternoon. High 84F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
High 84° / Low 65°


Ideal Flight Conditions:

  • Light winds less than 6 mph
  • Good visibility
  • Sunshine or if cloudy, high cloud ceilings

Unfavorable Flight Conditions:

  • Too strong wind, over 8 mph OR no wind at all
  • Poor visibility or low cloud ceilings
  • Snow or rain

Hot air balloons depend on different weather factors, including wind speeds, visibility, temperature. Lean more >

Balloon Launch


Saturday, January 27 • early bird registration by 1/21 • 10 a.m. start time at Mt Zion Lutheran Church • Door prizes, awards and medals

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Saturday, January 27, 7:30 - 10:30 p.m. at Hudson House Grand Hotel. Enjoy spirits, wine and beer tastings, appetizers and live music.

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Get your cameras ready. Take photos during the Hudson Hot Air Affair and you could win a prize! Sponsored by PressEnter!

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Western Wisconsin Journal – 2018 Hudson Hot Air Affair Preview

Hudson Hot Air Affair Featured in Tourism Interview

Balloon Inflates

Wisconsin Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett’s weekly radio interview with WTMJ 620 Milwaukee from Wednesday, January 3, 2018. In the interview, she featured the Hudson Hot Air Affair. The full interview can be heard at


For current press releases and more info about the Hot Air Affair, please view our Media page.

How to Get There

Directions to EP Rock School (Launch Field) at 340 13th Street South, Hudson, Wisconsin 

From MN: I-94 East, take Exit 1 North towards downtown. At stoplight take a right (East) on Coulee Road. At the 4-way stop take a left (North) onto 11th Street. Right (East) onto Summer Street to EP Rock School.

From Stillwater: Take St. Croix River crossing bridge to Wisconsin. Take Hwy 35 South to Hudson. Turn left (East) onto Coulee Road. At the 4-way stop take a left (North) onto 11th Street. Right (East) onto Summer Street to EP Rock School.

From WI: I-94 West, take Exit 2 and go North. Turn left (West) to the frontage road (Coulee Road). At the 4-way stop take a left (North) onto 11th Street. Right (East) onto Summer Street to EP Rock School.

Launch Field (EP Rock School) Regulations:

  • No Alcohol
  • No Smoking
  • No Drones
  • Only Service Animals Please

Thank you for your cooperation.