On June 12, 2024
Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Quechee hot air balloon festival lifts off

Courtesy Woodstock Vermont Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival, New England's longest-running event, celebrates 44th anniversary in 2024, featuring 16 balloonists, craft vendors, specialty food, and entertainers.

Hartford Area Chamber Prepares for Balloon Festival

Friday, June 14 at 3 p.m. to Sunday, June 16 at 6 a.m. ­—QUECHEE —The Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft and Music Festival, Village Green, Quechee, the longest running hot air balloon festival in New England, will celebrate its 44th anniversary in 2024 when thousands are expected to flock to central Vermont, June 14 – 16  (Father’s Day weekend).

Sixteen balloonists headline the event with five flights slated throughout the weekend and additional tethered rides during the day. Attendees can visit 70 craft vendors, indulge in a variety of fares from specialty food vendors, then sit back and enjoy dozens of entertainers for all ages, during the three-day extravaganza.  A variety of festival favorites and new food offerings with local healthy options and a beer and wine garden are planned. 

“We are proud to celebrate the 44rd anniversary of Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival which truly epitomizes what a community event stands for,” said Havah Armstrong Walther, executive director of the Hartford Area Chamber, who will be hosting her first hot air balloon festival event. “Our sponsors, volunteers, and the town come together and rally each year to make this a benchmark event. It is a great example of what we can achieve when our community comes together.”

Bobby Sheehan

Festival goers have much to choose from during the three-day event. They can start their day at sunrise and watch morning balloon lift-offs while indulging in breakfast and coffee. The afternoon can be spent enjoying stellar entertainment or visiting the various artisans and food vendors. During evening liftoff, you can grab dinner and sit hillside on the Quechee Green or consider waiting until dusk for the illuminated balloon-glow show.

Friday night will feature a DJ dance party with fire breathing, while Saturday morning launches with Pups in the Air and the jazzy beats of the Fred Haas Trio. The Sunday morning 6:00 a.m. balloon launch still has a handful of tickets available. Entertainers for this year’s three-day extravaganza of entertainers include Bow Thayer, DJ Sean Livemixkings, Pups in the Air, John Lackard Blues Band, VINS, The Tricksters, Skyhigh Skydivers, and more. 

“The Quechee Balloon Festival is a great boost to our businesses and local economy,” added Armstrong Walther. “We draw people from all over New England and the Eastern Seaboard, bringing our local vendors and musicians thousands of locals and out of town visitors who support the event year after year. For me, the best part of the festival this year is going to be working with the dozens of volunteers from businesses and the community at large, who return like clockwork, some for over a decade now.

Dates for the Quechee Balloon Festival are June 14, 15, 16, 2024 (Father’s Day Weekend). Hours are as follows: Friday from 3-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from  6 a.m.- to 10 p.m. Tix $0-$350.

Schedule:
Friday, June 14

3 p.m.
Bobby Sheehan, Classic rock, Americana and originals
Upper Valley-based singer/songwriter Bobby Sheehan has been performing across northern New England for the past 12 years. Originally from western Maine—where he founded his first band, Junco—Bobby currently performs solo as well as with the Lazy River Riders and Sheehan & Holden.
5 p.m.
VINS —Raptors Up Close
Live falcons, hawks and owls provide the lens through which we examine food webs, predator-prey relationships and the interdependence of the systems that support life. This first-hand encounter enables participants to understand the defining characteristics that make a bird a raptor and their adaptations for life as a predator on the wing. 
6 p.m.
Dj Sean Livemixkings, DJ and MC
Sean Hay has been a DJ, MC and event promoter for 15 years. Sean will be spinning his signature mixes of the hottest songs to kick off the festival.
Balloon Launch
More than 20 hot air balloons ascend. Wind and weather dependent.
7:30 p.m.
LaLoopna Hoops, Hoop Dance and Fire Performer
Lee Nangeroni, also known as LaLoopna Hoops, is a hoop dancer, stilt walker and fire performer from New Hampshire.
Dusk
Balloon Glow
Watch the festival light up at dusk. Wind and weather dependent.
Saturday, June 15
6 a.m. (gates open at 5:30 a.m.)
Balloon Launch
More than 20 hot air balloons ascend. Wind and weather dependent.
10 a.m.
Pups in the Air, New England Disc Doggers
A creative, enthusiastic group of Disc Doggers and their performing canines.
Skyhigh Skydivers
Watch experienced jumpers performing acrobatic maneuvers in the air during free fall before landing by parachute.
10:30 a.m.
Fred Haas Trio, Jazz, swing and blues music
Inspired, joyful and swingin’! A performance that will have you tapping your toes or dancing in the aisle as these artists perform, and share their love of jazz, swing and blues music.
12 p.m.
Robert Clarke, Magician and Juggler
Sit back in awe as Robert Clarke amazes with mind blowing magic and miracles.
Skyhigh Skydivers
Watch experienced jumpers performing acrobatic maneuvers in the air during free fall before landing by parachute.
1 p.m.
Lisa Piccirillo, Folk and pop musical blend
Lisa Piccirillo is a Vermont-based singer/songwriter whose compositions chronicle poignant observations with honesty and grace.
Kids Zone with the Fair Explorer
The Fair Explorer is a high-energy character that is mixed between Around the World in 80 Days and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Open until 5 p.m.
2 p.m.
Pups in the Air, New England Disc Doggers
A creative, enthusiastic group of Disc Doggers and their performing canines.
Skyhigh Skydivers
Watch experienced jumpers performing acrobatic maneuvers in the air during free fall before landing by parachute.
2:30 p.m.
Robert Clarke, Magician and Juggler
Sit back in awe as Robert Clarke amazes with mind blowing magic and miracles.
3:30 p.m.
The Funky Flats, High energy funk band
The band was formed in 2023 when working musician friends came together to express their love for super funky music. The Funky Flats’ style is original funky music inspired by the scratchy guitars, bright brassy horns and tight rhythm sections of the funk masters of the 1970s.
5 p.m.
The Raq-ettes, Performance Troupe
Professional and student dancers from Raq-On Dance Studio. An inclusive dance community that promotes body positivity and has been fostering fearless curves in Upper Valley for over a decade.
6 p.m.
Bow Thayer, Musician
An American songwriter, guitarist, and banjoist and the founder of the Tweed River Music Festival. Bow’s career spans over two decades with bands including the 7 League Boots, Elbow, Jethro and The Benders as well as solo work.
Balloon Launch
More than 20 hot air balloons ascend. Wind and weather dependent.
Dusk
Balloon Glow
Watch the festival light up at dusk. Wind and weather dependent.
Sunday, June 16
6 a.m. (gates open at 5:30 a.m.)
Balloon Launch
More than 20 hot air balloons ascend. Wind and weather dependent.
10 a.m.
Pups in the Air,m New England Disc Doggers
A creative, enthusiastic group of Disc Doggers and their performing canines.
Skyhigh Skydivers
Watch experienced jumpers performing acrobatic maneuvers in the air during free fall before landing by parachute.
11 a.m.
John Lackard Blues Band, Danceable, Rockin’ Blues
A sound and style that could easily have come from Memphis or Chicago is perhaps what makes John Lackard and his Green Mountain origin so unique.
Noon
Skyhigh Skydivers
Watch experienced jumpers performing acrobatic maneuvers in the air during free fall before landing by parachute.
12:30 p.m.
Robert Clarke, Magician and Juggler
Sit back in awe as Robert Clarke amazes with mind blowing magic and miracles.
1 p.m.
Kids Zone with the Fair Explorer
The Fair Explorer is a high-energy character that is mixed between Around the World in 80 Days and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Open until 5 p.m.
1:30 p.m.
Brooks Hubbard and Dad Gary, Musician
Brooks Hubbard is a national touring independent artist from the mountains of rural New England.
2 p.m.
Pups in the Air, New England Disc Doggers
A creative, enthusiastic group of Disc Doggers and their performing canines.
Skyhigh Skydivers
Watch experienced jumpers performing acrobatic maneuvers in the air during free fall before landing by parachute.
3 p.m.
Robert Clarke, Magician and Juggler
Sit back in awe as Robert Clarke amazes with mind blowing magic and miracles.
4 p.m.
The Tricksters, Pop-rock Band
Some of Vermont’s most talented musicians joined forces to form this Vermont-based band. They will keep you dancing all night with their repertoire which spans Top 40 radio hits from the late ’80s, ’90s, and current pop songs from today. Fun and original—filled with love, tight vocal harmonies, and contagious energy.
6 p.m.
Balloon Launch
More than 20 hot air balloons ascend. Wind and weather dependent.
For more information visit:quecheeballoonfestival.com

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