DANSVILLE — The 32nd Annual New York State Festival of Balloons brought excitement of hot air balloons launching into the Dansville sky.
Though the scheduled 6 a.m. launch was cancelled Saturday due to high winds and storm warnings, optimism prevailed for the evening launch.
“The pilots launch an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset because that is when the wind is most dormant,” said Dorothy Hotchkiss, President of the Dansville Festival of Balloons.
Given that the morning launch was cancelled due to weather, ticket purchasers were given the option to have their money refunded or wait for the next launch.
There were six fun shaped hot air balloons that were featured this year at the Dansville Balloon Festival, Spunky the Skunk, Pegleg the Parrot, Clawd the Crab, Pokey the Turtle, Purple People Eater, and Airhead Invader.
“The Purple People Eater has been here for years, people like it, it is definitely a crowd pleaser,” said Hotchkiss.
There was a grand total of 44 pilots registered for this years festival.
“Families in the community welcome the pilots into their homes for the duration of the festival,” said Hotchkiss.
A memorable ride in a hot air balloon costs $200 per person for an hour ride.
“The pilots don’t really have control over where the balloon lands, but they can manipulate the balloon and try for fields or a quiet country road,” said Hotchkiss. “It’s all an experience.”
Hotchkiss explained that the turnout really depends on the weather but the festival averages about 30,000 people every year.
Admission into the Dansville Festival of Balloons is $5, children twelve and under are free.
According to Hotchkiss, over the past 10 years, the Dansville Festival of Balloons Committee has given $100,000 back to the community by donating to Noyes Hospital and the Dansville Public Library.
“Seeing the crowd and seeing the satisfaction of their faces when the balloons go up make it all worth it,” said Hotchkiss.