Unfortunately, after many years of lots of fun, sending off hot air balloons, we’ve had to shut that part of our festival down.
The reason is that we used to have many balloon pilots who lived in our town, and they were the ones who were instrumental in first combining the Firemen’s Muster and the new Balloon Festival. However, as people have aged, retired, moved away, etc. we no longer have any pilots in Hillsboro. In fact, the last we heard, there are only 6 pilots in all of New Hampshire. It is too expensive for us to hire out-of-state pilots, many of whom require (reasonably) payment whether they fly or not (due to weather, etc)
The fact is that hot air ballooning is a passion, not a profitable business in most cases, particularly in the Northeast. So, we don’t see foresee many pilots coming back. There are some festivals that still manage to attract balloons and have larger budgets than we do.
However, we think our festival is still really good, and we look forward every year to various events that take place. Check out our “What to Do” section or look at the schedule to see what parts are most interesting to you.
Hope to see you there!