By Ed Karvoski Jr.
Hudson – What can a nonprofit organization give a town that already has year-round plans for 150th birthday celebrations? The Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge 959 presented residents and visitors a weekend of sights and sounds Aug. 20 and 21 with its ninth Balloons and Blues Festival.
This year, the festival featured an 80-foot-tall balloon shaped as a cake proclaiming, “Happy Birthday!” Further helping to celebrate the town’s sesquicentennial, guests were treated to servings of birthday cake decorated with the “Hudson 150” logo.
Festivities began Saturday at dawn as hundreds of early risers arrived with coffee and cameras to view 15 hot air balloons get inflated. Poor visibility due to fog grounded the planned ascension. The balloons were able to go up on Aug. 19 for Media Day.)
Instead, on the 12th, guests could board tethered balloons. Everyone came for the balloons and could stay for a pancake breakfast served in the pavilion by Boy Scouts Venture Crew 21.
More festivalgoers attended throughout the day for live entertainment provided by three musical acts including Mychael David of Northborough. Other attractions included professional wrestling, trackless train rides, bouncy house, face painting, food trucks and vendors.
Tethered balloon rides scheduled late afternoon got canceled because of safety concerns with windy conditions. However, the full day of activities concluded with an evening balloon glow accompanied by live music performed by the Bruce Marshall Group.
The festival culminated Sunday at dawn when early risers of all ages got the chance to help unroll the 80-foot birthday cake balloon. Inflated, it’s 71 feet in diameter.
Proceeds after event expenses go to the nonprofit organization’s scholarship fund for graduates of Hudson, Marlborough, Assabet Valley Regional Technical and Concord-Carlisle Regional high schools. For information about upcoming activities of the Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge 959, visit hudson-concordelks.org and on Facebook at facebook.com/HudsonElksLodge959.
Click here to see a video taken by Dakota Antelman Aug. 19 –