Tuesday, April 23, 2024

50th Balloon Fest starts Wednesday with cocktail party, moonglow at Hiland Park

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

The 50th Adirondack Balloon Festival opens a day early with a pre-festival cocktail party and moonglow on Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 5-8 p.m. at Hiland Park in Queensbury. Tickets are $40.

As of Sunday, 300 people had registered for the party, with more expected, including groups by major sponsors, said Balloon Fest organizer Mark Donahue.

He said it’s the festival’s first paid event in 50 years and it will honor long-time sponsors, balloon pilots and their crews.
NewsChannel 13 anchor Mark Mulholland will emcee. Music is by Rich Ortiz.

To buy tickets, go to www.adirondackballoonfest.org/gala-tickets

The event will offer first sales of balloon festival merchandise, including a commemorative pin set, plus raffles, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and a private moonglow for guests.

Also: Balloon Fest history boards and winning art works submitted by area elementary school students last June.

The Festival will also debut a new 50th anniversary commemorative painting by artist Lynn Benevento that will be put up for sale in a silent auction.

The History displays will also be installed in a “nostalgia museum” tent at festival launch sites, Mr. Donahue said.

New book of pilot bios

Balloon Fest Committee member Amy LaPoint will debut Pilot Memoirs, a book created for the milestone that profiles 92 balloonists associated with the Balloon Festival from its earliest years.

“I started it in 2019,” Ms. LaPoint says. “It took me four and a half years. I interviewed all of the pilots. They talk about when they got started ballooning, when they came here, their memories. I never did anything like this. It was something, I woke up one morning and I just knew it needed to be done.”

Besides its value as a keepsake, Mr. Donahue noted, “The book is a major fund-raiser for the Balloon Festival.”

The 50th Adk. Balloon Festival
Wednesday, Sept. 20

Hiland Park, Queensbury

• New! 50th Anniversary Cocktail Reception and Moonglow, 5-8 p.m. at Hiland Park Country Club in Queensbury.
Cost: $40 on the Balloon Fest website.
RSVP at adirondackballoonfest.org
Honoring longtime community sponsors and pilots. Mark Mulholland emcees. Artist Lynn Benevento will unveil a commeorative original painting for silent auction, historical exhibits, raffles, music by Rich Ortiz. Also, private Moonglow of up to 10 balloons, for guests.

Thursday, Sept. 21

Crandall Park, Glens Falls

• New! 50th Anniversary Parade, 4 p.m. small procession with Galloway Gaelic Pipes and Drums, balloon vehicles, classic cars, dignitaries and police escort, north on Glen Street from the Civil War Monument to Crandall Park. Observe from east side of Glen; the roads will not be closed. Expect some delays traveling on Glen.

• Music by the McKrells, 4-6 p.m. in Crandall Park. Also food vendors, children’s activities, Balloon Festival merchandise sales.

• Opening Ceremonies, 5 p.m. in Crandal Park. Dignitaries and first inflation of the Birthday Cake balloon. Followed by launch of 10 balloons.

• NEW! Post-launch party, 7-9 p.m. in Crandall Park (NOT downtown). Music by The Refrigerators, candlestick balloons. Hoping for first-ever Moonglow at Crandall Park.

Friday, Sept. 22

Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport, Qby

• Gates Open, 3 p.m. Food vendors, Zonta craft fair, exhibitors, kids’ activities and more. Music by Pluck & Rail, 4-6 p.m.

• Flight of 70+ balloons including special shapes, approximately 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 23

Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport, Qby

• Gates open 4:30 a.m.

• New! Dawn Patrol, 5:45 a.m. Special Anniversary launch of 5-10 balloons in the dark.

• Morning launch, approx. 100 balloons, including special shapes, about 7 a.m.

• Food vendors, Zonta craft fair, exhibitors, kids’ activities, more, all day. Music by The K&O Show, 2-4 p.m. and nationally touring Ryan Montbleau Band, 5-7 p.m. Gates open all day. “Plan on arriving early!”

• Evening launch, 5:30 p.m. Flight of approximately 50 balloons, while the rest prepare for Moonglow.

• Moonglow, 7 p.m. of approx. 50 balloons, including special shapes, tethered, lighted from within and accompanied by music.

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