By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – While meteorological conditions early-mornings Aug. 18 and 19 weren’t ideal for hot-air balloon pilots, the 11th Balloons & Blues Festival hosted by Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge 959 featured spectacular sights and sounds. Another sense offered for early-risers each morning was tasting a pancake breakfast at the Elks’ pavilion to benefit Venture Crew 21.
The scheduled liftoffs at dawn got grounded each morning because of inclement weather forecasts in potential landing areas. Some of the 10 hot-air balloons from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island were inflated and festival-goers enjoyed taking tethered rides.
Festivities resumed the afternoon of Aug. 18 in between intermittent rain showers with children’s activities, vendors, food trucks, tethered rides and a balloon that kids could walk inside. Live musical entertainment was provided by the bands of Mychael David of Northborough and Dwayne Haggis.
Rain stopped and the wind calmed by dusk when pilots ignited their balloons’ burners to create an evening glow. Musical accompaniment was performed by the Bruce Marshall Group.
Bill Hopkins, the Elks secretary, has observed the festival evolve and thrive for over a decade for a good cause. “We’ve had fog and wind, but never a problem with rain like this in 10 years,” he noted.
Proceeds go to the Hudson-Concord Elks Scholarship Fund. Last academic year, the Elks awarded $64,000 in scholarships to high school graduates of Hudson, Marlborough, Algonquin, Assabet Valley, Concord-Carlisle and Nashoba. For information about Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge 959, visit hudson-concordelks.org and facebook.com/HudsonElksLodge959.