Reflecting on the 27th Annual Balloon Festival and the role LCS played as official sponsors for the weekend of July 6 – 8, 2018, it is incredibly difficult to think of and speak on just one amazing moment, especially when there are so many to talk about and highlight!
The hot-air balloons were clearly the highlight of the weekend bringing hundreds of thousands of spectators to see over 100 launches combined over the 3-days in the morning and evenings – the Rhinebeck sky illuminated in colors that weekend to say the least! Morning launches were breathtaking as the balloons drifted away filled with passengers with the morning sunrise humbly making its appearance behind them, and the laughter and sounds of amazement from children and adults could be heard across the Fairgrounds. On the quiet side of the morning, others could be found participating in Sunrise-Yoga or Pilates or taking flight on a tethered balloon ride. Pea-Nut, an elephant-shaped balloon, had spectators fully engaged with her as she remained tethered for the launches.
This year America One was the festivals featured balloon for the Independence Day weekend, and she was a beautiful sight to see! America One was spectacularly large as she stood tall at 53 feet, 78 feet wide, 29 feet from front to back, and weighing in at 530 pounds! LCS had the fortunate experience of staffing her each evening with fifteen (15) volunteers who were called, “The Balloon Platoon.” The balloon platoon worked together with America One’s balloonist, Barry, to ensure she could fly high each evening, and they assisted in her only flight of the weekend at the grand finale on Sunday evening.
During the “Moon Glow,” America One was tethered by the Balloon Platoon, and she illuminated the sky proudly greeting service men and woman who were carried in on the “Warrior Wagon” with an orchestra playing the American Anthem in honor of them – everyone was on their feet to salute them and the sacrifice they’ve made to serve this great country! America One and our brave heroes were surrounded by illuminated balloons ranging from all different colors, shapes and sizes. Spectators gathered in the field to take pictures with their favorite balloons, while others interacted with the balloonist to ask questions and learn more.
Day festivities included activities for all ages. Children enjoyed train rides, carnival style games, live animal exhibits, bounce houses, and so much more! Families could be found in the field playing over-sized games of corn-hole, chess, connect four and pong made from large trash cans! The Chamber did not just think of the kids, they also offered adult entertainment, free hard-cider tasting, a craft beer tent, and retail booths. The balloons were not the only entertainment in the sky that weekend either, there were flyovers performed by Rhinebeck Aerodromes and helicopter rides to for people to enjoy as well. There certainly was not a shortage of food as the food trucks and vendors ranged from the ever-favorite Greek Kabobs and Gyros to Spanish style cuisines.
We would like to extend the biggest “Thank You” to both the Dutchess County Region Chamber of Commerce and our very own LCS Employees. The Chamber afforded us an exciting opportunity to be a part of something so extraordinary and amazing as this event – without a doubt, we look forward to next year!
Lastly, we are incredibly grateful to our skillful and talented 50 plus employees who committed part or all of their weekend to ensure our commitment to the facility cleaning, grounds maintenance, and porter services were delivered with prestigious care, professionalism, and never-ending tireless efforts, we could not have performed as well as we did without all of you – you are the real champions!