Located in the heart of Vermont's Upper Valley, Quechee is a picturesque spot for a Northeastern getaway. The town is one of five unincorporated villages that comprise the town of Hartford, and it offers visitors community events, unique shops, and abundant outdoor activities. Whether you’re exploring the 165 foot deep Quechee Gorge or spending the day shopping at the Quechee Gorge Village, Quechee is the ideal destination for your next vacation.
The Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft and Music Festival has been the go-to summer event in the Upper Valley for nearly four decades. It will take place Father's Day Weekend (June 16-18) at Quechee Green, right in downtown. The event fuses a hot air ballooning festival with an art/craft show, resulting in a family-friendly event with something to offer everyone. More than 25 hot air balloons from around the country will be participating in five flights scheduled throughout the event. Over 100 artisans and commercial vendors will also be in attendance, selling a variety of arts, crafts, and more. Celia Woodsmith, the James Montgomery Band, and Conniption Fits will be the headlining musical performers, and a variety of other acts will perform throughout the event. Families attending will love the kid's activities, including a bouncy house, rock climbing wall, and Euro bungee. We got to interview PJ Skehan, Executive Director of the Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce, to learn more about this unique event.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
PJS: The Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft and Music Festival has been running for 37 years.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
PJS: We anticipate having 25 balloonists, 100 vendors, and more than 10,000 attendees at the festival over the weekend.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
PJS: It’s a family oriented event, but we attract many couples who want to experience a balloon ride for the first time. We’ve had many engagements and weddings occur at the festival.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
PJS: It’s the longest continuously running hot air balloon festival in New England, and we offer something for everyone.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
PJS: The main attraction is always the balloon ascensions and (weather permitting) we have five of these scheduled throughout the weekend. We have 25+ balloons take off from a picturesque setting at the Quechee Village Green. Plus, we have two balloon glows which are always a highlight of any balloon festival. We also have skydiver demos, frisbee dog performances, tethered balloon rides, and a full schedule of entertainment on our main stage. Performers will include musicians, impressionists, jugglers, dancers, etc. We also have a terrific Kids Zone with euro bungee jumping, a rock climbing wall, and several bounce houses. You can find a detailed listing of our entertainment on our website.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
PJS: There are some great inns, hotels, and motels in Quechee, and in the surrounding communities.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
PJS: While organized by the Chamber of Commerce, the event is a real community effort with over 100 volunteers helping to make the festival a success.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
PJS: Absolutely, anytime you get 10 – 15k people at an event, the local economy benefits tremendously!
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
PJS: Money raised goes to the operation of the Quechee Gorge Visitor Center.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
PJS: The festival has a real community feel about it, and offers something for everybody. We’ve managed to retain a small fair atmosphere while providing great entertainment value.
For more information about the Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft and Music Festival, please visit the event website.