48th Adirondack Balloon Festival set to begin, minus food and craft vendors

Sunny Boy -- inspired by Earth's brightest, hottest light -- will fly at this weekend's Adirondack Balloon Festival. Dragon will also lift off. (Photos provided)

Sunny Boy -- inspired by Earth's brightest, hottest light -- will fly at this weekend's Adirondack Balloon Festival. Dragon will also lift off. (Photos provided)

QUEENSBURY/ GLENS FALLS — The 48th annual Adirondack Balloon Festival kicks off today with colors brightening the skies this weekend, but several changes have been made due to the pandemic.

“As one of the largest spectator events in the Northeast, we have a responsibility to create an environment which keeps all our spectators, balloon teams and volunteers safe,” said Mark Donahue, president of the board of directors of the event. “Therefore, the decision was made to not have food or craft vendors in order to reduce a large gathering of people in small areas.”

The event will still feature up to 50 balloons, including special shapes such as the Dragon, Panda Bear, Fred the Rabbit and Sunny Boy.

This year’s festival logo is inspired by the Rainbow Project, which uses rainbows to celebrate optimism and appreciation for essential workers nationwide during COVID-19. Saturday morning’s flight will feature a local essential worker flying in each balloon.

“We could not think of a better way to give back to our community than to celebrate our essential workers and show our appreciation,” said Donahue.

The event kicks off this evening from 6 to 9:30 p.m. with the Downtown Glens Falls Block Party on Glen Street featuring live music, car show and balloon candlestick glow. There will not be a flight from Crandall Park this year due to limited ability to ensure social distancing.

Friday afternoon’s flight and all weekend activities will be at Floyd Bennett Airport (Warren County Airport), 443 Queensbury Ave., Queensbury.
Gates open Friday at 3 p.m. Balloon flights are from 5 to 6:15 p.m.

On Saturday morning, gates open at 4:30 a.m. with flights launching from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Gates will close after the morning launch.
Gates reopen Saturday at 3 p.m. and there will be a display of balloons at 6:15 p.m. Saturday evening will feature a “Lighting up the Night” moonglow of 40 balloons at the airport at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, gates open at 4:30 a.m. will balloon flights launching from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.

All flight times are approximate and all activities are weather permitting. Smoking and dogs are not allowed. Drones or remote control aircrafts are not allowed.

A limited quantity of balloon festival merchandise will be available this year. It will not be available at the airport, but will be available at the downtown block party.

VIP parking passes can be purchased at adirondackballoonfest.org. Organizers are recommending that attendees wear masks. Visit the event’s website or Facebook page for more information.

Categories: Life and Arts

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