As one of five Hudson Hot Air Affair founders, I would personally like to thank every single person who has attended any of our events over the last 30 years. The economic impact of the Hot Air Affair on the city is hard to calculate, but we can certainly assume that with the hotels full, the restaurants overflowing, the gas stations busy and the retailers appreciating all the extra visitors from all around the St. Croix Valley, and beyond … it's a valuable event for our great city.

Special "kudo's" to Rose Eakins, our original balloon pilot. Also to Evy Nerbonne, Carla Timmerman and Linda White for their creative ideas and unwavering dedication to see not only that the event happens, but also that anyone and everyone attending has a great experience!

Since 1990 many people have helped and this year, after 30 years of the old guard, it's refreshing to see Michelle Webb, AJ Hein, Richard and Sharon Young and others take over the lead to continue this incredible legacy and event that brings tens of thousands of tourists to Hudson each year.

The long, long, list of events have something that everyone can appreciate from all the pre-events before the weekend, to the Torchlight Parade on Friday night, to the balloon flights on Saturday morning and afternoon and again on Sunday morning. The incredible site of the Moon Glow on Saturday night is awesome. And whether or not the balloons fly, we have great fun with the World Championships of Smoosh boarding Saturday afternoon, the 5-K & kids race, the Craft Fair, the ice sculpting, kites, music and more.

Most events have a life-span of seven years or less. For the Hudson Hot Air Affair to be coming up on our 31st year, it means that a lot of things are done right, done well and done for the right reason. That reason is to provide a wonderful winter experience for Hudson residents. For any and all of us involved with the Hot Air Affair, we do it for your enjoyment.

If you've joined us in the past, thank you! If you've never attended, please consider attending our pre-events or anything during the weekend of Feb.7-9 and you will understand why this event is so special.

John Knutson