The Adirondack Balloon Festival will return in September for its 48th year, with a new format, expanding to include a new event at East Field in Glens Falls, multiple launch sites throughout Warren and Washington counties, a drive-through moonglow event and more.
The 48th annual festival will take place Thursday to Sunday, Sept. 23-26, in multiple locations.
“This will not be the same-old, same-old Adirondack Balloon Festival you know from years past,” said Mark Donahue, president of the organization’s board of directors.
“Due to COVID, we had to totally reinvent the festival this year,” he said. “We are excited to bring back the joy and wonder of the mass ascensions, while keeping safe and still having fun. Our group of volunteer organizers has been working around the clock to make this happen, as we know how much it means to the community.”
The event is free for the community. Festival merchandise will be for sale at select events, with a smaller selection than in previous years.
Organizers listed the schedule of special events as follows:
Thursday evening, Sept. 23, a downtown Glens Falls block party with live music, candlestick balloon torch firings, sidewalk sales and more.
Friday evening, Sept. 24, inflation of more than 50 balloons in five different communities, including Glens Falls, Queensbury, South Glens Falls, Hudson Falls and one more to be finalized. Organizers said it makes the situation safer because the crowds will be spread out.
Saturday morning, Sept. 25, mass ascension at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury, of 50 balloons including special shapes. Officials said the balloons will be roped off, spread out along both runways, and you can drive right in, saving spectators the long walks of previous years. This year, the Balloon Festival cannot allow vendors, children’s activities, or the Open Door breakfast. Pilots will not take paid passengers this year.
Saturday evening, Sept. 25, there will be two moonglows. At the airport, people can attend a drive-through moonglow to observe 40 tethered balloons on display, lit up from within. There will also be a new event at East Field with a live band, 8-10 balloons, and possibly a fireworks display. The details of the band and fireworks are still in the works, officials said.
Sunday morning, Sept. 26, there will be a mass ascension at the airport of 50 balloons including special shapes, with the same setup as Saturday.
The Adirondack Balloon Festival’s launches are subject to weather conditions. The balloons cannot fly for safety reasons if it is too windy or if there is inclement weather.
Contact the Adirondack Balloon Festival, a registered nonprofit, to sponsor the event or make a tax-deductible contribution to keep the festival going.
For more information, visit www.adirondackballoonfest.org.