Hudson’s 12th balloons fest features sights, sounds and tastes

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By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

Balloons are fired up for the evening glow.

Hudson – Spectacular sights, sounds and tastes were experienced from dawn to dusk Aug. 17 at the 12th Balloons & Blues Festival hosted by Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge 959.

Early-risers arrived with coffee and cameras to observe most of the festival’s participating 10 hot-air balloons get inflated. The balloonists hailed from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York. A number of festival-goers took tethered rides while Venture Crew 21 members and their families served a pancake breakfast in the Elks’ pavilion.

After pilots were cautioned about the early-morning’s low cloud cover, only Keith Sproul of Brunswick, N.J., launched his 90-cubic-foot balloon named “Fred B. Rabbit” with 30-foot ears. The big bunny balloon landed near Camp Resolute in Bolton.

Festivities resumed in the afternoon with amusement inflatables, trackless train rides, vendors, food trucks and more tethered rides. Live musical entertainment was provided by the Bruce Marshall Group and Dwayne Haggins Band.

At dusk, pilots ignited their balloons’ burners to create an incandescent glow. Musical accompaniment was performed by Northborough native Mychael David and his band.

Balloonists returned the following morning along with Venture Crew 21’s continental breakfast.

Festival proceeds go to the Hudson-Concord Elks Scholarship Fund. Last academic year, the Elks awarded $57,000 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.

Photos/Ed Karvoski Jr.

Balloons are lit for the evening glow.
The “Fred B. Rabbit” balloon is lit at dusk.
The “Peanuts 4 Ever” hot-air balloon gets fired up at dusk.
Northborough native Mychael David performs in the pavilion.
Getting a bird’s-eye view of early morning festival-goers boarding balloons and taking tethered rides.
Pilot Keith Sproul takes Venture Crew 21 members Jules Hughes and Larissa Granger on a tethered ride.
A couple of crew members help ignite the hot-air balloon named “Full Count.”
Crew, volunteers and festival-goers peruse balloons getting inflated on the Elks’ field.
Elks member Sharon Grimm assists balloon pilot and WHDH-TV 7 news anchor Adam Williams.