By Paul Post
A downtown parade, evening gala and record number of high-flying special shapes are among the events in store for people at this year’s Adirondack Balloon Festival and its 50th anniversary celebration.
The five-day event, slated for Sept. 20-25, gives a boost to the local economy by generating thousands of overnight stays, creating a bonanza for hotels, restaurants and retail shops in addition to state and county coffers, which collect related sales tax.
Founded by the late Walt and Joan Grishkot, this is the East Coast’s largest balloon festival, attracting people from throughout the U.S. and overseas, and third largest in the entire country behind only events held in Albuquerque and Reno.
In keeping with the Grishkots’ wishes, the Adirondack Balloon Festival is organized and run strictly by volunteers and is entirely commercial free. There is no admission charge for any of the six flights or moonglow activities, all held weather permitting.