Monday, February 26, 2024

49th Adirondack Balloon Festival

Thurs.-Sun., Sept. 22-25

Launch schedule:

Crandall Park — Thursday afternoon (followed by Glens Falls downtown Street Party)

Warren County Airport — Friday afternoon, Saturday morning & afternoon, Sunday morning

Crandall Park — Sunday afternoon

Details & full-scale Chronicle coverage below

The 49th Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festival begins today, Thursday, Sept. 22 and continues to Sunday, Sept. 25.

“We’re back, full blown,” for the first time since Covid, says festival organizer Mark Donahue. The balloon pun is unintentional.

With every inflation, a little deflation: It’s not been an easy one to put together, Mr. Donahue also says.

All the elements are returning:

  • Opening day in Glens Falls, with a launch in Crandall Park followed by the Downtown Balloon Fest Street Party.
  • Launches at Warren County Airport on Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday night and Sunday morning, including the special shapes. Saturday night after-dark Moonglow.
  • Concluding launch at Crandall Park Sunday afternoon.

Balloon launches are always weather permitting. Rain, wind, fog are no go’s.

Also back, finally: A full lineup of food vendors, crafts and activities at the airport — including the signature Zonta Balloon Craft Show and the Open Door Mission’s Big Balloon Breakfasts, in a tent this year because the hangar is under renovation.

Overall, says Mr. Donahue, “We actually have more vendors, and more exhibit space than we’ve ever had. Everyone really wanted to be here.”

Sadly, there won’t be a Balloon Art show, he said, as the organizer retired.

Food, music and vendors return at both Crandall Park events. They’ve planned for more food vendors on Thursday to accommodate expected demand.

Honors Joan & Walt Grishkot

Saturday morning’s flight will honor Joan Grishkot, the wife of Balloon Festival founder Walter Grishkot who was “very important, really ran everything,” Mr. Donahue says.

She passed away in July 2020.

Balloons will fly with fabric streamers in Joan’s favorite pastel colors hanging down from the baskets.

“It’s very dramatic when they rise up,” Mr. Donahue says. “I saw it done at another festival.”

Sunday morning’s traditional “Mass Ascension” of all balloons at once will honor both Joan and Walter Grishkot.

We still need volunteers,” Mr. Donahue says, to help with the special shape balloons. See the website to sign up.

Open Door Mission’s breakfast at the airport needs volunteers for Sunday.

Info, schedule, balloon, ride info: and Facebook.

50th Adk. Balloon Festival next year!

“Next year is our 50th anniversary and we are starting to make the plans for that,” says Adirondack Balloon Festival organizer Mark Donahue.

They will announce preliminary plans for the 50th anniversary at the Saturday evening pilots briefing. Members of the public are welcome to watch from along the sidelines. Note that seating is for the pilots.

Mr. Donahue said they are planning to invite many past pilots back next year, even if they can’t fly.

Noting their difficulty in finding enough lodging at affordable cost for this year’s festival, he said that next year “we will likely need three whole hotels ourselves.”

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