Notice: The answers below are intended as general information. If you would like information about specific activities please read the descriptions on the schedule page. For additional questions please contact Hudson Hot Air Affair.


Do you have a question about Hudson Hot Air Affair?Hot Air Affir Q&A

Well, you're not the only one. 

Take a look at these frequently asked questions to see if there is an answer for you.


Q: Where can I find out if the balloons will be flying?

A: Visit the HHAA website homepage or Facebook and Instagram for the latest flight info. Please note, we often do not know whether the balloons can fly until right before the scheduled flight time. We post the flight decisions as soon as we possibly can.

See the flight decisions on our home page.


Q: Sometimes the balloons don’t fly… What’s up with that?

A: Here is how a balloon rally works. We set a date and then hope that the weather cooperates. If you want to see the balloons you need to come to the launch field before the flight and then everyone finds out together whether the weather will allow the balloon to fly safely. If the balloon can fly, it is simply an amazing experience for everyone. If not, there are all kinds of other activities planned for people to enjoy.

Check out our Events page for all the other HHAA activities.


Q: What does “flights are weather permitting” mean?

A: Hot air balloons need winds of 4-6 miles per hour and visibility of at least 1 to 3 miles to be able to fly. So, when the winds are too strong (over 8 mph or no wind at all), there is poor visibility (low cloud ceilings), snow or rain, the balloons may not be able to fly safely.

Learn more about what kind of weather is needed for a hot air balloon flight at:


Q: Why can’t you tell us if the balloons will be flying before the event?

A: Because we don’t know. No one is able to predict the exact weather on the launch field until it is time for the flight. We often simply need to wait and see. Weather conditions need to be just right for the balloons to fly and land safely.

Learn more about what kind of weather is needed for a hot air balloon flight at:


Q: What is a pi-ball?

A: On the launch field pilots use a small helium party balloon, called a pi-ball, to test the wind on the launch field and winds aloft. If the pi-ball reaches treetop level and then shoots off very fast, this indicates a wind sheer and it may be dangerous for a balloon to launch. It is also dangerous to try and land a balloon in high winds.

Learn more about what kind of weather is needed for a hot air balloon flight at:


Q: What does “optional flight at 3:00 pm” mean?

A: The Saturday 3:00pm launch is an optional flight. This means that if balloons are able to fly at the morning launch, pilots can participate at the 3:00pm flight at their discretion. However, if the balloons are not able to fly in the morning, and if weather permits, there will be a mass ascension flight at 3:00pm.

Learn more about what kind of weather is needed for a hot air balloon flight at:


 Q: What’s the difference between a Moon Glow or a Field of Fire?

 A: When the winds are low and pilots are able to inflate their balloons envelopes, this is called a Moon Glow with the balloon envelopes light up like giant lanterns. If it is windy and unsafe to inflate the balloon envelopes, the event becomes a Field of Fire. This is when the pilots set up their baskets and burners to light up the sky with flames. Both events are amazing to watch.

Come early to allow for very heavy traffic. Please note, for safety and better traffic flow, there will only be parking on one side of the street around the perimeter of the school grounds. Don't be late the balloons are limited on how long they can glow before running out of fuel. Remember to dress warm as it gets colder when the sun goes down.

Check out the HHAA Media page for videos of the Moon Glow and Field of Fire.


Q: Where can we Park?

A: There is parking on the streets around the school.

This year, to allow for better traffic flow and pedestrian safety, there will be parking on only one side of the street around the school grounds. There is limited handicap parking available in the schools central parking lot (enter form Frear Street). The Newton Field parking lot is located north of the school on Frear Street. The Mt. Zion Lutheran Church lot on Summer Street and the Hudson United Methodist Church on Laurel Ave. are available on Saturday. The Hot Air Affair is a popular event, so expect heavy traffic and you may need to park several blocks from the launch field, so please plan to come early. We ask that you follow all traffic laws and please do not block driveways or intersections. If you are walking at night, wear light colored or reflective clothing.

View a google map of the school at:


Q: Is there someplace to warm up?

A: The Marketplace and Craft Fair is open form 8am to 8pm. Local non-profit groups will have hot food and drinks available for purchase in the school cafeteria. Check out the craft Fair for a selection of art and crafts with a winter and hot air balloon emphasis.


Q: What should I wear?

A: Dress warm and put on your Up Nort’ winter wear… boots, hat, gloves and a warm coat are a must. It can take over an hour for the balloons to inflate and lift off… and you don’t want to miss any of it. If you get cold there is a warm up station in the school which is open 8am to 8pm.


Q: Can I take a balloon ride at Hot Air Affair?

A: Hudson Hot Air Affair is a spectator event with balloons sponsored by area businesses. There are no hot air balloon rides are sold during the event.

If you are interested in purchasing a balloon ride at some other time, our Hot Air Affair partner balloon companies offer rides year-round (weather permitting).

Aamodt’s Hot Air Balloon Rides

Stillwater Balloons


Q. Are there admission costs for Hot Air Affair?

A. All of the balloon events are free, as well as other spectator events like the torchlight parade, fireworks, kite flying and ice carving. Some things, like the smoosh board competition or the fundraiser prize drop are free to watch, but if you want to participate there are fees. There is a craft fair, souvenirs and food available for purchase. There are many events throughout the community, some like the kids ice fishing are free and others like the Hudson Booster Bingo funraiser or the Octagon House Museum tours have costs.

Check out the schedule page on our website for details about all the events and whether those events have fees.


Q. What is the HHAA COVID Policy?

A. Please have a fun and safe time at the Hudson Hot Air Affair. Please follow current CDC, state and local health guidelines. The Current St. Croix County COVID transmission level is low. The county recommends: staying current on vaccines, get tested if you have symptoms and wearing a mask is optional.