Propane conservation at the heart of Wisconsin balloon event

The US state of Wisconsin recently held the 25th Annual Hudson Hot Air Affair, and this year the event sought to increase awareness of the local propane crisis while delivering the same level of fun and excitement.

Participants at the Hot Air Affair were encouraged to save as much propane as possible over the course of the three day event.

The recent adverse weather was at the centre of the propane crisis, causing concern for supplies that heat the residents’ homes, and is also of concern to the hot air balloon pilots.

The owner of Stillwater Balloons, Ann Jacobs, said the weather front means that the pilots used less propane to heat the air inside the balloon, and is quoted as saying:

“The average flight in the winter will cut our fuel consumption by half.”

Carla Timmerman, event coordinator, calmed locals concerns by saying that none of the propane used over the weekend would have been available to meet the needs of local homes.

To ensure that the event retained its renowned fun edge, it incorporated the annual Smoosh board Competition. Having evolved from the original challenge from the event’s early years, when old tennis shoes were nailed to 2×4 planks, most boards are now wider and often custom-made.

According to reports, the event requires that participants deploy co-ordination and teamwork to remain upright.

Friday night (7th February) also saw one Hudson street lit up by spectators during the Torchlight Parade, with crowds bringing along torches and glow sticks as encouraged by event organisers.

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